Army Staff Sgt. David Bram has now joined four other Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker soldiers facing charges of murdering Afghan civilians last year. Bram, 27, from California, who had faced lesser charges, is now accused of solicitation to commit murder, the Army announced yesterday. He's also charged with engaging in murder-scenario conversations, failing to report war crimes, planting evidence at a crime scene, and assaulting Afghan nationals.
Bram is one of a dozen Stryker soldiers accused of Afghan war crimes, five of them facing murder charges. A sixth, Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 23, of Alaska, has already been convicted and is expected to testify against his fellow troops. In his court statement, Morlock identified Bram as one of those involved in a murder Morlock pleaded guilty to.
Bram is the second squad leader to be charged in the cases. Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Montana, is also accused of murder. He has been identified by others as the ringleader of the murder plots. During his court martial in March, Morlock told the court that the conspiracy to kill noncombatants began after the Afghanistan arrival of Gibbs, who'd been serving in Iraq.
Morlock detailed the circumstances of each civilian murder by the infantrymen from January into May last year. In a March incident, "kill team" members, as they called themselves, shot but apparently missed several Afghanis. They also took trophy photos with their "kills" and death souvenirs including fingers, a leg bone, and a tooth.
"Were you going to shoot people to scare them, or did it [just] get out of hand?" the judge asked Morlock.
"The plan," Morlock answered firmly, "was to kill people."