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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Northwest Soldier Released From Prison Speaks Out

Dana Holmes
Former Private First Class Andrew is welcomed home by his grandmother Wanda Yarbrough Sunday at the Boise airport after serving time in an Army prison for war crimes.

Andrew Holmes, a former soldier from Boise, is speaking out about his war crimes and his time in prison. He was the youngest member of what came to be known as the “kill team” from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Holmes was convicted of murdering an unarmed Afghan teen, possessing a severed finger and smoking hashish. He is now back home after being released from prison.

Now 25 and free for the first time in five-and-a-half years, he’s got a lot to say -- especially about the U.S. Army.

“I was an expendable piece and they definitely expended me,” Holmes said.

Holmes did express some remorse over killing the Afghan teen. “I feel bad for his family," he said. "But, man, it’s a combat zone. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and I apologize for it.”

As for the next chapter in his life, Holmes said, “I’m trying to find out where I fit in this world because right now I have no idea.”

Holmes was just 18 when he was sent to Afghanistan and assigned to a team leader he once described as a “psychopath.” He said there was a leadership vacuum and junior soldiers took the fall.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."