September 29th, 2010
07:52 AM ET

Army may have known in February about Afghan murder

The Army may have known months ago about serious misconduct - including the apparently unprovoked murder of a civilian - by members of a platoon in Afghanistan but failed to act on it before at least one other murder occurred.

In an interrogation tape obtained by CNN, Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, tells an Army investigator in May that he told his father in February that he feared for his life after hearing that others within his platoon had murdered an Afghan civilian. He feared that his comrades - members of the 5th Stryker Brigade - were hunting for other victims, he said.

But a warning to the Army by Winfield's father may have been ignored.

In an Army interrogation tape obtained by CNN, Winfield describes hearing members of his platoon bragging in January 2010 about having killed a man and then made the killing look like it was carried out in self-defense.

"They said the guy threw the grenade at them, and that's how the grenade went off, and then they shot him," Winfield told an Army investigator.

Related: Tapes describe U.S. servicemen killing for sport in Afghanistan

Asked what really happened, Winfield said on the tape that others in his platoon - Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs - were involved. They are among five soldiers facing premeditated murder charges for the killings of three Afghan civilians between January and May of this year. Seven other soldiers face lesser charges.

"Morlock and [another soldier] were planning it for about a week or so," Winfield said. "Sergeant Gibbs, you know, put it into their heads that they could get away with doing these things."

U.S. Army charging papers describe Gibbs as the ringleader in Afghanistan of a band of rogue U.S. infantrymen, some of whom were routinely smoking hashish laced with opium.

According to statements from the accused, some of the men collected body parts from the victims - including fingers and bones - and posed for pictures with their corpses.

Gibbs allegedly encouraged his men to join him in killing civilians, and ordered them to keep their activities secret, an order that Winfield paid attention to.

"I take that man very seriously," Winfield told the investigator in the interrogation tape. "He likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate. I mean, I have never met a man who can go from one minute joking around, then mindless killings. I mean, he likes to kill things."

Asked how he thought Gibbs would have responded had Winfield refused to participate in the killing, Winfield said, "I think - one, he wouldn't have kept me in the loop on things and, if they had thought I had ratted, they would have come after me."

After the killing of Afghan civilian Gul Mudin in January, Winfield called his father - himself a retired soldier - and told him what had happened, according to Adam Winfield's attorney, Eric Montalvo.

When the elder Winfield told the Army inspector general in February what his son had told him, he was told that nothing could be done and that his son should lay low, the attorney said.

When CNN called the Army to ask about the call, an Army spokesman said an investigation is now under way.

Winfield himself is charged with premeditated murder in the killing of another Afghan civilian in May.

His client is not guilty of premeditated murder, Montalvo said, despite the existence of an Army interrogation tape on which Winfield appears to implicate himself and other members of his platoon, including Morlock and Gibbs.

On the tape, Winfield describes the fatal encounter with the Afghan civilian for which he is charged. "He seemed friendly, he didn't seem to have any animosity towards us," Winfield says. "Brought him out, sitting in the ditch. Me and Morlock were behind the berm ... Sergeant Gibbs said, 'This is how it's going to go down. You're going to shoot your weapons, yell "grenade," I'm going to throw this grenade. After it goes off, I'm going to drop this grenade next to him. That's it.' So he had two grenades on him."

Investigator: "OK."

Winfield: "So, we're laying there and Morlock told me to shoot, so started shooting. Yelled 'grenade,' grenade blew up and that was that."

Investigator: "Who gave you the order to shoot?"

Winfield: "Morlock ... and we fired once he said 'Shoot.' Grenade blew up. Sergeant Gibbs threw the grenade; it blew up and then he came over, shot the man probably two more times in the head."

Winfield said that Gibbs told him after the killing that he was part of the group.

Investigator: "Did he ever hold against you that you killed a man?"

Winfield: "No, he told me I was a made man after that."

Gibbs' attorney did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

Morlock's attorney told CNN that his client suffered from brain injuries suffered in IED attacks and was on Army-prescribed medication that impaired his judgment.

The Pentagon has not commented on any of the cases. Instead, it sent CNN a statement about the videos: "Disclosure of the video recordings to the public at this juncture is troubling because it could adversely affect the fair and just administration of the military justice process," the statement says.

CNN's Kathleen Johnston, Courtney Yager, Scott Zamost, Todd Schwarzschild, Drew Griffin and Tom Watkins contributed to this story.

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Filed under: Civilian deaths • Soldier tapes
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Vicki Terrell

    I know for a fact the the CID in Afghanistan do not investigate all of the cases! My husband, Paul A. Terrell, was murdered on base at Camp Phoenix on June 17, 2010 and they are trying to say that it was a suicide. It was NOT suicide! He had only been back on base for a few hours after a 2 week vacation home. He was retired from the US Navy and on his third tour as a civilian contractor. His passport is still missing along with his cell phone he had just called me from. They have given me at least 5 places where his passport is and every place they say claims to not have it. He was hung in his shop in the early hours of June 17. When they sent me the list of evidence from the scene, the top of the list was a cigarette butt. When I told them that my husband did NOT smoke, they said they would do DNA on the cigarette. Now they claim that the DNA matched and when they sent his things home they DID NOT send his shaving kit (obviously where I could have gotten DNA). They waited to send everything home until he was creamated so I could not get his DNA. Thinking I could trust the military to due a proper investigation. I WILL eventually find out what happened and clear my husband's name, but until then there will not be any closure for myself or our 2 granddaughters that we are raising. I have contacted 2 of his friends there only to be hung up on or ignored. It makes me wonder if they are afraid or been ordered not to talk to me. If anyone out there knows of someone that will investigate this, please let me know. My husband was not depressed or unhappy. He was there to serve his country and make the money to send our girls to college. We were very happily married without problems. A few hours before he had even gone jogging and told these friends about us looking for a new home in Florida on his vacation! I was told by CID that it was impossible that he was murdered, as he was very fit, athletic and into martial arts. So does that mean that he had eyes behind his head? That he could not have been attacked from behind? I ask you...Is this a man that would have committed suicide? Absolutly not...He WAS murdered!!!

    November 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hw72909

    Until you have lived the life of an American soldier in a combat environment as heavy as some of these soldiers have seen you have no right to throw judgment. What they did is in no way right but the ultimate blame falls on the chain of command. Many of our combat arms soldiers are on their 6th or 7th deployment, and the truth is they are tired and disgruntled. They are tired of fighting a war that doesn't seem to be moving forward and they are tired of seeing their fellow soldiers die at the hands of the local nationals. People reach their breaking points eventually, and the army should take the initiative to catch the signs and symptoms in soldiers before it goes so far. Many soldiers are scared to come forward with their issues because they will be striped of their duties. The army has gone as far as to try to supplement the adrenaline rush of war with bungee jumping and sky diving when the soldiers return home from deployment. The fact is war changes people, and that's just the way it is.

    October 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ron

    US Army Soldier. These soldiers deserve to be given a trial, charged, and convicted of the crimes that they have done. Will I say that I don't support them? No. They, on a daily basis, put their lives on the line for a cause unknown. Yes, they are very wrong, they committed the worst of crimes, and they should pay for it. But don't forget why you are able to sit here and complain about all of this. A soldier.

    October 14, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah

    The war is not WRONG I mean I don't agree with it, sure want my husband back I hate him being over there in, but he is saving lives. If it wasn't for him and other medics ppl would still be suffering more than they already are. Of course all the ppl he says he takes care of are men, boys, and girls under like 8,
    (they don't allow thier women to be treated most the time) but still at least he's saving those. I mean, it's a pretty awful place. and as far as them killing for sport goes...I have nothing to say about that!

    October 8, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    They charge these guys for doing what the Army taught them to do? Thats insane. Sorry that it was a civy but come on, they are trained killers what do you expect.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mojo

    Reports like this create hippies, This is war people snap it's not the first time it's been going on for centuries. You make guys fight repeatedly and time after time if some jerks try to kill you, you just turn all good morals off. If this is hard for you to believe see it for your self and join the fight and let some one tell you how your so post to feel after. Am I supporting this no but am I surprised that this kinda stuff happens not at all. We got to remember that those Taliban and other groups do far worse things to people but we wanna throw yellow cards for every little oops our boys do.

    October 5, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bangash

    Nothing new in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the blessings of US war first in the name of Jehad against ex USSR and today war on terror. America is a super power therefore they are always right and this killing and occupation of weaker is their birth right. They are free to bomb any one anywhere in the world. Any one saying against this reality is a terrorist and he has to face the consequences even if he is among the nearest one like OSAMA BIN LADIN who was once their hero in CIA war against USSR. So this is America of today which Obama had promised to change but he could not as the war mongers are strong enough then him.

    October 3, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Well put,bangash.I couldn't have stated it better myself.We need to rid Washington of all these right-wing thugs so we can a stop to this obnoxious war and turn our attention to this nation's problems.We also need to ignore the Tea Party Movement and the right-wing repoters who keep on trying to disinform us.

      October 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ringo

        Thank you,George.I totally agree with you and bangash although some right-wing fool has been posting his nonsense under my name above.I didn't post any of those idiotic comments made under my name!!!

        October 3, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rob roy

    well folks,it doesn't take much for you narrow brains to get side tracked.troubled,misguided young guns with apparently no command control deciding to take the law into their own [americans] have thousands of young men coming home so messed up mentally that their commiting suicide in record numbers that were not seen even during and after what gives folks?whats with this record number of suicides?you'll have your gungho rambos say that they were weak,boy thats alot of weak people wouldn't you say!!for the boys who want to nuke them,you better get them all in the first shot,because if one of them is left he'll throw a bag of money on the back of a camel and go shopping for old surplus nuke.then you folks[americans] will be sraching your heads wondering why did they do that?as for them hating the west,they first just hated you folks until you dragged the rest of us into your problems.P.S. would someone please ,with some authority print on this comment how many american troops have and atempted suicide since the iraq and afghanistan wars started and do they fall under fatalities of the conflict they last served in.

    October 2, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ronvan

    Can't really argue your point Dingo. The only problem I have is that we can do that, but, unless our military is given the "green light" to do what they are trained to do, KILL the enemy, using ALL of our technology, including the use of Nukes, it all boils down to the same result, politics & money! I know alot has changed since my time in the Army, but, this "nation building" & "making friends" crap, is NOT the militaries mission! That is where the politics should come in, AFTER, the military has completely destroyed the "ENEMY" Always easy to say because it would be the good old U.S.A. that would bear the brunt of eliminating these "terrorist slime" where ever they are. That is exactly why I would use the nukle option, hopefully, to force these other countries to assist in killing this slime!

    October 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ringo

      Cant do that ronvan, the fallout would hit russia and china and they would not be happy with us. It would also spread in the air and water to the whole planet. We arent talking WWII lightweight stuff.

      We will hit them whereever the coackroches hide by supporting the locals to fight the insurgents and using drones and spec ops raids led by intel. They are just criminals so we use police type methods to root them out.

      October 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Your right Dingo we have to nip this in the bud!

    October 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      Ich sehe,das der Betruger ist wieder zuruckgekommen.Niemals schreibt er herin auf dem deutsche Spache.Wenn seht,das ich herin schreibe auf die deutsche Sprache,dann weisst man,das es ich der Wahrschreiber bin!!!

      October 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        A pesar de que no se leer aleman Dan,se lo que quiere decir aqui.!Muchas gracias por su sabio commentario! !Y no haga caso a su embaucador! !Se considera muy gracioso aunque no lo es!

        October 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ringo

        Both of you are idiot imposters from germany and spain pretending to be americans.

        Why some europeans are terrorists sympathizers is just idiot stockholm syndrome. You think by taking their side you will appease them. You wont!

        The taliban want the destruction of all western civilization including europe.

        October 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ronvan

    Larry: Just for clarification: I am a 23yr. Ret. Army Viet Nam Vet, with all of that time in the INFANTRY in ALL of its forms! I support our military totally but not the reasoning. The simple fact that our military could WIN & finish this mess, very quickly is not an argument. It is not going to happen because of the money & politics involved! And, for me, those that "think" we have to fight "over there" to protect ourselves are implying that we cannot protect ourselves at home, which is to say, we have already lost!

    October 1, 2010 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dingo

      Problem is if we leave them a safe haven to recruit and train and get rich on opium money they will attack us everywhere in the world.

      They will overthrow governments of other countries and create more taliban countries just like they took over in the 90s afganistan. Even to protect inside our country we would need to create an orwellin society to monitor everyone since they will get in. The more money they have to buy equipment and more time to plan and train the worse the attack.

      October 1, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Dingo

      Taliban and its dirty offshoots are already trying to overthrow Yemen and Somalia governments. They are trying to establish themselves in South America, Africa, Europe, Middle East...

      The answer is if we dont help governments trying to fight them in other countries, we will have an even bigger problem soon – maybe even a real WMD problem.

      October 1, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        I see that you're now blogging under the name of Dingo,Phunnie boy! You make a good mouthpiece for the right-wing thugs in Washington if you weren't trying to be so funny.Only an absolute moron would put any credence in what you just blogged in here!!!

        October 1, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ronvan

    IT IS OUR FAULT! WE all sit at home and post comments, some good, some stupid, yet we condone the continuance of these wars/conflict, whatever, by NOT beating up our "elected children" that enough is enough! Do not try and convince me that by fighting "over there" we are keeping the U.S. safe! Just one committed individual, with the right backing, can slip through the cracks to carry out an attack. Once again it is politics, oil & BIG MONEY that are the driving forces to "keep up the good fight". Even with the fact that "multiple tours" can be a factor in actions like these we cannot accept or condone them and those responsible must be punished. ALL of these countries DO NOT want us there, except for the ones getting the big bucks. And why is it that the U.S. has to be the world police & try to "force" countries into accepting our ways?

    September 30, 2010 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Onesmallvoice

      Very well put,ronvan.Thank you.

      September 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I totally agree with both of you.Good posting.

      September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        No, I totally DISAGREE with both of you. You traitorous wusses might want the terrorists to win and continue to attack us, but I do not!

        September 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMC Forever

      HEY ronvan DUMMY, we did not want to go over there in the first place genius boy, they were protecting that P.O.S. Bin Laden who attacked us and killed 3000 innocent Americans. What about that???? They the Taliban started the WAR and now must pay the price, people do die in WAR, people do have to be there to fight for what is right.

      November 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tracy Taylor

    God Bless These Brave Soldiers.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Is that you again Gary Johndro,trying to make another sick joke of yours out of this obnoxious war? Any true Christian knows that God will never condone what these monsters did and you know it too!!! Besides there's nothing "brave" about these thugs in uniform!

      September 30, 2010 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
      • Tom Posey

        I say that these guys are more like a pack of human wolves who should be thrown in prison never to see the light of day again,the sickos! Besides,they're a national disgrace to us all,don't you agree Tracy Taylor???

        September 30, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        If you cowards can't stand behind our troops, I DARE you to stand in front of them!

        September 30, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Sorry Bledsoe,I didn't post that stupid comment above but I have a good idea who did.He's always trying to make a stupid joke out of this obnoxious war hijacking other peoples' names.

        September 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Onesmallvoice

      Hey you Tracy Taylor,Gary Johndro or whoever you are,will you kindly stop trying to be funny here? I'm sick and tired of you bozos blogging in your jokes about this rotten war!!!

      September 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • soldiers yes, murders No

      I support our many honorable an decent men and women who serve overseas, but Gibbs and some of his company should be hung up by their privates for the Afgans to torture! They do not represent me as an American and I don't want anyone to associate them or other sadistic, sick people with how Americans are! I am not sure who you are blessing, but I certainly hope Mr. Gibbs rots in Hell!

      October 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |


    September 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      You forgot to blame the MIC in your rant, Mr. Conspiracy Theorist.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        And now I have to leave in my black helicopter to join a Tea Party rally with the other Washing left wing thugs in the MIC.
        I hope my tinfoil hat doesn't blow off.

        (Obviously, I didn't write that message above.)

        September 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      360 degrees would burn in the face of God!!!

      September 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BryanP

    Andrew, the Army is a huge organization. There are a hundred operations going on in Afghanistan at once, it takes months to get everything that is needed together.

    And the fact that you're debating whether that it's even in question whether we believe killing civilians is wrong tells me you're a tool anyway.

    I've just spent an hour browzing the comments on this blog. Are people really this ignorant? I've read everything from conspiracy theories to people who actually want a group that beheaded people because they didn't grow a beard to win. Is our society really this stupid?

    September 29, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      Any society that condones the murder of innocent civilians is definately a very sick one.This whole war is wrong but unfortunately,the people are just too ignorant to realize it!!!

      September 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        So you think it's wrong to fight those responsible for 9/11. Well, now we know where your loyalties lie.

        September 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette,IN

        Andrew most men or women that go to war do not come back as sane ashen they left and these 12 compounded this crime by the use of drugs. I am sure that most of them were not there fighting for the freedoms we here in America enjoy and should be punished severely but to that we condone these murders is totally wrong and as a matter of fact the Taliban and their terrorist allies have killed many more innocent civilians than NATO forces have which by the way 99% of them want to help the Afghan people and get rid of the murderous terrorists whose only concern is power and control over the people!

        September 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      So we should overlook this, or Abu Ghraib, or Pfc. Steven Dale Green, who was convicted of raping and killing an Iraqi teen and murdering and burning her family, or employees of Contractor Blackwater shooting and killing Iraqi civilians in Baghdad ? Or the same contractors using special bullets that explode after penetration, on Iraqis ? and on and on ..

      September 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soda

      BryanP: Yes.

      September 29, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Andrew Lubin

    "May have known....?" Please the one soldier's father called FIVE times. And as of this morning, Army senior leadership has said NOTHING, which makes one wonder about whether or not they even think the deliberate killing of civilians is wrong.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      It seems to me that today's military leaders are nothing but moral pygmies.In my day, the thought of murdering civilians never even occured to us.How low we came and that sickens me to no end!!!

      September 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Patton

        "In war the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it."

        September 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Military-Industrial-Complex Right Wing Thug Predator Drone Bla Bla Bla Filthy Creep Hindu

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki ring any bells, Mr "Pretending to be a man who died 65 years ago"?

        September 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJL#0914

      Retired Army Combat Veteran. The Army is not taught to kill. I have no idea what army many are talking about. However, if it was their relative that was killed by one in uniform they sure have something different to say. Those in uniform need to be punished to the severe max. Showing other countries we as a so called free country do not stand for this behavior. For one civy to many in afghanistan is nothing to you here in the United States. In Afghanistan that is enough to target other military soldiers "eye for an eye," or start a war. Before you open your mouth, insure "YOUR" ready to do defend your comments.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
      • USMC Forever

        This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, "The ARMY is not taught to kill" WOW, what a statement, maybe thats what is wrong with them? And you SIR are an idiot! This guy is Ex-ARMY, PEOPLE ARE YOU IMPRESSED YET???

        November 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marisol Flores

      I have warned three (3) count them 3 people in the Army that my daughter is NOT fit for the Army. Have they listened? NO! They continue with the recruiting process as if everything I have said is falling rain. They don't care. Recruiters just want to meet their quota. The article depicts what happens when the US Military does not listen to parents. Do they learn? NO! Very unfortunate. None of us know what REALLY goes on in Afganistan other than we are draining our economy of the resources we need right here in the Great USA.

      October 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |