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Possible deal for soldier accused in Afghan War crimes

Spc. Jeremy Morlock.
US Army
Spc. Jeremy Morlock.

There's been a significant development in the case of five Washington-based soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians last year. The Washington Post reports a plea deal has been struck with one of the key defendants. But an Army spokesman cautions nothing's been finalized. 

The Post, citing an anonymous source, says Specialist Jeremy Morlock has agreed to a dealthat would spare him the possibility of life in prison.

Instead he'd get a maximum of 24 years behind bars in exchange for testifying against his fellow soldiers. One of those co-defendants is Private First Class Andrew Holmes of Boise.

This is how his attorney, Dan Conway, reacted to news of the potential plea deal:

"It doesn’t surprise me at all that certain witnesses are striking deals nor does it surprise me that the government really comes across as desperate to strike some deals in this particular case where there's absolutely no forensic evidence."

Army investigators did not recover the bodies of the alleged victims. That's why Morlock’s testimony could prove key in upcoming military trials.

But before any plea deal is finalized, the Army says it would have to be approved by the top general at Joint Base Lewis McChord. 

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.