Michael Wagnon

23.04.2016 ( Last modified: 09.06.2016 )
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facts

Michael Wagnon was born around 1981. In 2003 he joined the United States Army and in 2010 he was serving as a Specialist in B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, operating near Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan during 2009 and 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Between the months of January and May 2010, Wagnon’s unit was involved in the killing of three unarmed Afghan men. Army investigators allege that Wagnon and four other soldiers took a lead role in conspiring to kill Afghan civilians and then cover it up, justifying the shootings by making it appear as though the civilians were enemy combatants. Seven additional US soldiers were alleged to have taken part in a conspiracy to cover up the killings and for their involvement of lesser but related crimes. Wagnon himself is alleged to have shot and killed one of the victims with a rifle.

In addition to the killings, Wagnon and several other soldiers in his unit are alleged to have taken pictures with the Afghan’s corpses and subsequently mutilated the bodies,. Wagnon is alleged to have kept a skull or skull fragments from one of the corpses. Wagnon is additionally alleged to have later tried to get another soldier to erase evidence of the killings from a computer hard drive.

On 15 June 2010, federal prosecutors charged Wagnon with one count of premeditated murder in connection with the premeditated killing of three Afghanis in early 2010. Wagnon is currently being held in federal custody and awaiting court-martial before the Joint Base Lewis-McChord military tribunal near Seattle, Washington.

legal procedure

On 15 June 2010, federal prosecutors charged Wagnon with one count of premeditated murder in connection with the premeditated killing of three Afghanis in early 2010. Wagnon is currently being held in federal custody and awaiting court-martial before the Joint Base Lewis-McChord military tribunal near Seattle, Washington.

In a court-martial proceeding related to the Wagnon proceedings, on 23 March 2011 Specialist Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, and one count each of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and illegal drug use during his court-martial before the Joint Base Lewis-McChord military tribunal. Morlock was dishonourably discharged and sentenced to 24 years in prison after saying he conspired with other members of his unit to kill unarmed Afghani civilians.

Morlock was the first of five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade to be court-martialed for his role in the killing of three Afghani citizens in early 2010. As part of his plea deal he agreed to testify against his co-defendants, including Wagnon.

On 3 February 2012, the Army dropped all charges against Wagnon.