Corrected: Soldier gets hard labor, discharge in Afghan war case

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 10:04 AM
Corrected: Soldier gets hard labor, discharge in Afghan war case

(Corrects sentence to 60 days hard labor, instead of 90 days)

By Laura L. Myers

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. Army soldier was sentenced to 60 days of hard labor and a discharge on Wednesday after a military judge found him guilty of serious misconduct, including desecrating a corpse, beating up a fellow soldier and smoking hashish while deployed in Afghanistan.

Army specialist Corey Moore, 22, was one of a dozen 5th Stryker Brigade soldiers charged with misconduct in connection with what has become the most serious prosecution of alleged atrocities by U.S. military in Afghanistan since the war there began in late 2001.

Moore was found guilty by U.S. Army Judge Lieutenant Colonel Kwasi Hawks of stabbing a corpse and beating up Private Justin Stoner, an alleged whistle-blower who threatened to reveal the platoon's drug use.

Moore, of Redondo Beach, California, is one of seven Stryker Brigade soldiers charged with lesser crimes. Five others face murder charges in upcoming court-martial hearings.

Hawks, at Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, ruled that after the hard labor Moore will be discharged because of bad conduct but not jailed.

He forfeits no pay and his rank is not reduced, Army spokeswoman Kathleen Turner said.

Hawks convicted Moore of unlawfully striking another U.S. soldier, conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, and wrongfully using a Schedule 1 controlled-substance.

The judge found Moore innocent of conspiracy to commit assault and battery against Stoner and of impeding an investigation.

The Stryker Brigade cases have gained notoriety because dozens of photos, including 15 to 20 deemed by Army prosecutors to be highly sensitive because they could potentially inflame public sentiment in Afghanistan against U.S. soldiers, remain sealed from public view.

A video showed Moore stabbing a corpse, according to court documents.

Moore is the fifth soldier to be sentenced in the case.

In a related case, the court-martial of a key suspect, 22-year-old Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, was postponed on Wednesday due to a death in his defense attorney's family.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Bohan)