A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 24 years in prison after admitting "the plan was to kill people" in a conspiracy with four fellow soldiers to kill unarmed Afghan civilians.
Military judge Kwasi Hawks said he intended to sentence Specialist Jeremy Morlock to life in prison with the possibility of parole but was bound to the lesser sentence by a plea deal.
Correspondents say the 22-year-old soldier is a key figure in a war crimes probe that implicates a dozen members of his platoon and has raised some of the most serious criminal allegations to come out of the war in Afghanistan.
He was accused of taking a lead role in the killings of three unarmed Afghan men in Kandahar province in January, February, and May 2010.
compiled from agency reports