MILITARY JUSTICE
1:45 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

Lawyer: Soldier charged in Afghan killing released

The lawyer for one of five Washington state soldiers charged with killing Afghan civilians for sport says his client is being released from custody pending his court martial.

Attorney Colby Vokey tells The News Tribune of Tacoma that an Army judge on Friday agreed to release Spc. Michael Wagnon, originally from Las Vegas. The other four defendants remain in custody.

Vokey asked the judge to release his client during a hearing Thursday. Wagnon is accused of joining the others on a "kill team" that deliberately slaughtered three civilians in Kandahar Province early last year, and prosecutors allege he directly participated in the second of the three killings.

An Army investigator who reviewed evidence in the case suggested that murder and conspiracy charges against Wagnon be dropped, but officials declined to do so. His court martial is set for June.