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Soldier sentenced to 24 years for war crimes

Austin Jenkins
Attorney Frank Spinner, left, and other members of Spc. Jeremy Morlock’s defense team speak with reporters following Morlock’s sentencing.

A Washington-based soldier has been sentenced to 24-years in prison for killing unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. Specialist Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of premeditated murder and other crimes.

Morlock is one of five Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers charged with war crimes while deployed to Southern Afghanistan last year. And the first to be convicted of murder – the result of a plea bargain. In court, Morlock described schemes to murder non-combatants.

Those schemes involved detonating grenades and planting an AK-47 on Afghan civilians to make it look like they’d attacked US troops. After sentencing Morlock’s attorney, Frank Spinner, read a statement from his client in which Morlock apologized to his victims’ families and to US troops.

“He seeks forgiveness for tarnishing their reputation. To the extent his actions have placed their lives in jeopardy, he can only express regret.”

As part of his plea deal, Morlock has agreed to testify against his fellow soldiers in upcoming military trials. His attorney says Morlock would be eligible for parole in seven years.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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