US soldier gets 7 years in prison for Afghan murder

September 24, 2011 03:51

TACOMA, Wash. - The youngest of five US soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians in cold blood was sentenced on Friday to seven years in prison for gunning down a teenage boy whose corpse he posed with as if it were a trophy.

Andrew Holmes pleaded guilty on Thursday to a single count of murder -- reduced in a deal with prosecutors from the more serious charge of premeditated murder -- admitting he made a "bad decision" when he shot the young villager at close range.

"I wish I could tell the father and brothers in Afghanistan I'm sorry," the tearful 21-year-old Army private said on Friday, near the conclusion of his court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "It's a deed that will never be forgotten. It will live on in my mind until the day I die."

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