"Kill team" participant Jeremy Morlock joins jail hunger strike

Staff writerJune 17, 2014 

FILE - In this undated file photo released by the U.S. Army, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock is shown. Morlock, accused of taking a lead role in a brutal plot to murder Afghan civilians, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit assault and battery, and one count of illegal drug use in exchange for a maximum sentence of 24 years, said Geoffrey Nathan, one of his lawyers. (AP Photo/U.S. Army) ORG XMIT: AZTS101

U.S. ARMY — AP

A former Joint Base Lewis-McChord solder serving a 24-year prison sentence for killing three Afghan civilians participated in a three-day hunger strike at the Army prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, last week.

Jeremy Morlock was one of six inmates who skipped eight consecutive meals last week to protest restrictions on their privileges at the jail.

A Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman confirmed that the hunger strike took place. Had it continued, the inmates would have received medical attention after missing a ninth meal.

According to the Army, the inmates were protesting a delay in receiving mail, a change in protocol for Leavenworth’s inmate advisory council and a loss of certain privileges they had prior to being disciplined for actions in the prison.

They ended their hunger strike before they faced more repercussions, such as losing the ability to call home on Father’s Day.

Geoffrey Nathan, a Massachusetts attorney who has represented Morlock, said Morlock was placed in solitary confinement for using a cell phone at the jail.

“It is inhumane treatment,” Nathan said. “He would rather just be dead. He’s a walking dead man in there.”

Morlock is one of four former JBLM Stryker soldiers who killed innocent Afghan civilians during a 2012 deployment and covered up the murders by reporting them as combat engagements.

Morlock confessed to the killings and testified against “kill team” ringleader Calvin Gibbs, who is serving a life sentence at Leavenworth.

“Morlock, he could have done something else with his life. He just wasn’t qualified to be a soldier. It’s not his fault,” Nathan said.

Stjepan Mestrovic, a Texas A&M University professor who testified in the “kill team” courts-martial, said he has had trouble communicating with Morlock at the prison.

“These are important things because Morlock is working with deadlines for submitting appeals, and these problems with communicating with him make a difference,” Mestrovic said.

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