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New Pictures Of 'Kill Team' Are Published

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's Martin Kaste has more.

MARTIN KASTE: Stjepan Mestrovic is a sociologist at Texas A&M who studies war crimes and the soldiers who commit them.

STJEPAN MESTROVIC: I know it's hard for your listeners to believe, but they are ordinary - I would say even nice - young men and women.

KASTE: Mestrovic was a defense witness for specialist Jeremy Morlock, a kill team soldier convicted last week on three counts of murder. He's in the photos posing with one of his victims. Mestrovic says he's seen an internal Army report that suggests Morlock and other soldiers in the squad were tacitly encouraged to go beyond the rules of engagement.

MESTROVIC: The gung-ho attitude came straight from the top. There was a body count board at the brigade headquarters. Everyone in the unit knew that that's how you got promoted.

KASTE: Martin Kaste, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. He covers law enforcement and privacy. He has been focused on police and use of force since before the 2014 protests in Ferguson, and that coverage led to the creation of NPR's Criminal Justice Collaborative.