Michael Wagnon is a specialist in the United States Army's 5th Stryker Brigade alleged to have played a role in a conspiracy to shoot Afghan civilians, for thrills. Colby Vokey, Wagnon’s attorney, contends prosecutors used that time to develop a pretrial agreement with codefendant Spc. Jeremy Morlock. Morlock refused to testify before Liles at Wagnon’s November hearing. Wagnon is married, with three children. When he was on his first hitch in Afghanistan, in 2010, he served under Sergeant Calvin Gibbs who had several hitches in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gibbs is alleged to have been the ringleader of a group of soldiers who took illicit drugs for recreation, and were later to have killed several Afghan civilians for thrills.
Major Michael Liles, the investigating officer for his article 32 hearing, concluded "no evidence that Wagnon participated in premeditated murder." In the US military justice system the investigating officer in an article 32 hearing makes a recommendation to the "convening authority", a senior officer in command of the suspect, as to whether charges should be laid. The senior officer is at liberty to ignore the recommendation. In spite of Liles's recommendation Wagnon was charged on January 31, 2011.
According to Wagnon's lawyer, Colby Vokey, Wagnon acknowledged being present during an incident where civilians were killed, and acknowledged firing his weapon, but he maintained he didn't know the killings were staged. Wagnon denies the charges and contends he was firing his weapon in support of his squad, said his attorney, Colby Vokey. Through his civilian attorney, Colby Vokey, Wagnon has maintained he did nothing wrong during the deployment to southern Afghanistan and simply performed his duties as a soldier in a violent place. Spc. Michael Wagnon “was firing in support of others in the field, and he knows nothing about anybody’s intent to murder anyone,” said Colby Vokey, a retired Marine lawyer and Wagnon’s attorney. Colby Vokey, Wagnon’s attorney, said Wagnon did not shoot the civilian, was not part of a conspiracy and did not know the engagement was staged.
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- Adam Ashton. Soldier to face judge in Afghan slayings, The News Tribune, 2010-09-24. Retrieved on 2011-04-22. mirror
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