TACOMA, Wash., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Army witnesses in an Afghan war crimes case were housed together, letting them coordinate their stories, lawyers say.
Spc. Jeremy Morlock, Cpl. Emmitt Quintal and Spc. Adam Winfield were put in the same quarters while still in Afghanistan for their own safety, McClatchy Newspapers reported.
Other witnesses said they feared Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the squad leader who allegedly led murders of Afghan civilians. Morlock and Winfield are among those charged with murder.
Now that the soldiers are jailed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., defense attorneys say they used their time to work out their stories. The attorneys are challenging statements they gave in May on the grounds they are filled with hearsay.
Justin Stoner, a private who was assaulted by his platoon mates when he reported drug use, was put in the same quarters in late May, even though Quintal and Morlock are among the soldiers he said beat him.
Stoner testified Dec. 2 that Morlock, Quintal and Winfield talked among themselves about what they had told investigators.
Documents obtained by the News Tribune of Tacoma also show Morlock sent notes to his co-defendants, apologizing for talking with investigators.