JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Army prosecutors urged a presiding Army judge to recommend courts-martial for five soldiers accused in a three-month killing spree in Afghanistan.
The prosecutors said the five men serving at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in southern Afghanistan sought out civilians at random and then killed them with grenades and rifle fire, ABC News reported Tuesday.
One of the defendants, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock, appeared in court Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. He had been videotaped while being questioned in Afghanistan, The Seattle Times reported.
On the videotaped confession, obtained by ABC News, Morlock described how Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs had men in his unit randomly choose civilians and then kill them.
"Gibbs called it like, 'Hey you guys wanna, you guys wanna wax this guy or what?' And you know, he set it up, like, he grabbed the dude," Morlock said on the tape.
The five soldiers face murder charges and if convicted could face the death penalty, the Los Angeles Times said. All have denied the charges.
The military says the investigation also led to the discovery of widespread drug use at the base.
Defense attorneys said Morlock didn't confess to the slayings and his statements indicate other soldiers did the actual killings, the Times said. The attorneys also questioned investigators' assertions that Morlock was properly told of his rights and that his prescription drug use -- he had taken a muscle relaxer before questioning -- should invalidate the statements as evidence.
The parents of Spc. Adam Winfield, another soldier accused in the killings, said they tried to warn the Army about the sergeant, but to no avail, ABC News said. The Winfields say they called six different Army offices and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to get help.
Chris Winfield, Adam Winfield's father, told ABC News in an interview: "The guy that was doing this was his superior. This was his staff sergeant."
Winfield's lawyer, Eric Montalvo, told ABC News he believes Gibbs is "essentially a serial killer."