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Army Soldier Pleads Guilty In Murders Of Three Afghans

"Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to three counts of murdering unarmed Afghans and other wrongdoing in an important juncture in a U.S. Army war-crimes investigation," The Seattle Times reports.

The plea, which was expected, is part of an agreement that will see Morlock "testify against other soldiers accused of crimes while serving in Afghanistan, including four accused of murder," the newspaper adds.

NPR's Martin Kaste, who is covering Morlock's court martial at Fort Lewis in Washington state, reports that Morlock will testify that Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs was the instigator. According to Martin, "Morlock says he and Gibbs dropped weapons by the corpses of their victims, to make it look as if the soldiers had been defending themselves." Morlock likely faces a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison.

As we reported Monday, Morlock and the others allegedly saw themselves as a "kill squad" and targeted civilians. This week, Germany's Der Spiegelpublished some photos that the soldiers allegedly took as they posed with victims' corpses. The Army has called the soldiers' actions "repugnant."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.