Spc. Jeremy Morlock has already admitted to a role in the murder of three Afghan civilians in a taped confession that has since been leaked to the media. The question now, according to his lawyer, is whether or not Morlock was in his right mind when he made those statements, and whether the government can prove that it was he who fired one of the deadly rounds.
The investigation began in May, when Morlock and others in his platoon were accused of beating up a fellow soldier who had ratted them out for smoking hashish. That whistleblowing soldier said that Morlock and Sgt. Calvin Gibbs -- who the other platoon members all refer to as the group's ringleader -- had thrown severed human fingers down at his feet and told the soldier he'd "end up like that guy if he continued to run his mouth."
Testifying via speakerphone from Afghanistan -- and yes, even over the phone they make you stand up and swear to tell the whole truth -- lead investigator Special Agent Anderson Wagner told the court that Morlock wanted to tell the whole truth, but was afraid of what Gibbs might do to him if he heard he'd talked.
Morlock's civilian attorney, Michael Waddington, argued that his client's videotaped confession should be disregarded, because at the time he was on a total of 10 different prescription medications. Some to treat symptoms from brain injuries Morlock supposedly suffered, others to help him sleep.
Waddington also hammered Wagner over what he perceived as a lack of rigor when it came to investigating the claims of Morlock and his other soldiers. Ignoring the fact that a homicide investigation is a tough slog in the U.S., let alone in a war-ravaged country that doesn't even issue its citizens birth certificates, Waddington repeatedly forced Wagner to admit that his investigations team had neither bodies nor murder weapons, nor any other kind of physical evidence, to tie his client to the killings.
A decision on whether or not Morlock will face a court martial isn't expected for a few days. All four of his fellow soldiers who are themselves facing charges were listed as government witnesses today; all four invoked their rights not to testify.