(AP/CBS) A hearing for the first of five soldiers accused of deliberately killing Afghan civilians this year has begun with more than a dozen witnesses asserting their right to remain silent - including the lieutenant who headed their platoon.
Cpl. Jeremy Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, faces charges including premeditated murder in the deaths of three civilians, assault, conspiracy, drugs and attempting to impede an investigation, reports CBS Affiliate KIRO.
The soldiers are accused of killing three civilians in Kandahar Province.
Army prosecutors are relying heavily on statements Morlock made in which he described the plot by members of the 5th Stryker Brigade as an effort to murder the civilians for sport. CNN obtained tapes, describing gruesome killing scenes, of interrogations of soldiers charged with unprovoked killings of Afghan civilians.
KIRO reported documents state that, after blowing up and shooting the Afghans, the soldiers took photos of the bodies, along with trophies: Finger bones, leg bones and a skull, all found in the soldiers' possessions.
Morlock's lawyer said that his statements are unreliable because they were made under the influence of prescription drugs.