Army Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs has been sentenced to life in military prison with eligibility for parole in 10 years.
This photo from the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Calvin Gibbs’ tattoos that are suspected to represent his “kills.”
A military court-martial Thursday found Gibbs guilty of murdering three Afghan civilians, illegally cutting off pieces of their corpses to keep as “souvenirs” and planting weapons to make the men appear as if they were Taliban fighters killed in legitimate firefights.
He was reduced in rank to private and ordered to forfeit all pay and benefits. Gibbs already has served 547 days of pre-trial confinement, which will be subtracted from the 10-year sentence.
“He said they were all dirty savages,” prosecutor Maj. Andre Leblanc said at Gibbs’ sentencing hearing.
“He is the savage, not the innocent Afghans he murdered. It is monstrous. What kind of savagery does it take to do this? To cut a finger off a victim and show it to people? This is a savage being”
Gibbs’ attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, had asked the court for a sentence of life with parole so Gibbs would have the opportunity to be with his now-3-year-old son again.
“He has a long time to reflect on his life, what he has done and what he wants to do in the future,” Stackhouse said.
Gibbs is the highest ranking of five soldiers charged with being part of a rogue “kill squad” that targeted civilians. Another seven soldiers also were charged with lesser crimes including abusing drugs, keeping “off the books” weapons and intimidating a fellow soldier not to speak out against the platoon’s alleged killings.
Gibbs had pleaded not guilty.
A prosecutor described Gibbs as a “recruiting poster” soldier. But the tall, clean-cut Gibbs and the “kill squad” he was convicted of leading turned into a public-relations nightmare for the military.
“Sgt. Gibbs had a charisma, he had a ‘follow me’ personality,” Maj. Robert Stelle, a prosecutor in the case, told the court in closing arguments Wednesday. “But it was all a bunch of crap, he had his own mission: murder and depravity.”
The murders Gibbs is accused of committing took place over a period of five months last year, while Gibbs led the 3rd Platoon of the Army¹s 5th Stryker Brigade in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Source: CNN | Patrick Oppmann