Defense Counsel for Staff Sergeant Robert Stevens



Guilty Plea in Stryker Brigade Case


On Tuesday, Staff Sgt. Robert Stevens acknowledged his guilt in a case arising out of Afghanistan. He pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment for throwing a grenade from a Stryker vehicle, aggravated assault for firing his M4 in the general direction of two Afghan civilians, but missing, dereliction of duty and two specifications of making a false official statement. The military judge sentenced Stevens to be reduced in rank to private and to serve nine months of confinement, but retained him in the service. In other words, Stevens was not kicked out of the Army. His deal requires him to testify against other defendants. 

News first broke about the Stryker brigade soldiers months ago. Some of them are accused of killing unarmed civilians in Afghanistan and keeping body parts of their victims as war trophies. Stevens is not one of the soldiers accused of murder. He acknowledged following an order from Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs to shoot at two Afghans who posed no threat. There was no evidence presented that those Afghans were injured.

Some of the media have given the misimpression that Stevens pleaded guilty to murder. For example, CNN’s headline reads,Soldier pleads guilty to some charges in Afghan killing; gets 9 months. This gives the impression that Stevens is guilty of more than his actual conviction. This reporting has spread overseas. The headline at reads, US soldier gets nine months for killing Afghan civilians. Stevens’ lawyer, Stephen H. Carpenter, Jr., wanted to set the record straight. He stressed that, “Stevens neither harmed or murdered anyone.”



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