Washington: A US soldier has been jailed for seven years for his role in the murders of Afghan civilians in 2010.
Twenty-one-year-old Andrew Holmes was among five soldiers charged over the ‘thrill killings’ of the three civilians during patrols in Kandahar.
Holmes from Idaho, confessed in court to firing a heavy machine gun at a boy from 15 feet away, after his co-defendant threw a grenade at him.
He was accused of directly participating in the first killing and initially charged with premeditated murder among other charges.
According to a newspaper, Judge Lt Col Kwasi Hawks sentenced him to seven years in jail, saying there was no excuse for the murder.
“You aimed a fully loaded squad automatic weapon at a child that stood 15 feet away,” he said.
Holmes` sentence came a day after he changed his plea to guilty in a deal with Army prosecutors.
Holmes would receive credit for the 499 days he was already behind bars and could leave prison early on good behaviour, the paper said.
According to army spokesman Joe Kubistek, Holmes would receive a dishonorable discharge after serving his sentence.
The soldiers, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle, were arrested in Afghanistan last year after prosecutors said they killed the three men for sport in January, February and May last year.