SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. Army colonel has recommended the court-martial of an American soldier charged with murdering Afghan civilians for sport, collecting fingers from dead bodies and other crimes, sources familiar with the case said on Thursday.

The investigating officer who presided over last week's initial hearing in the case found sufficient evidence for Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 22, to stand trial on three counts of premeditated murder and other offenses for which he could face the death penalty, according to the sources.

The case has drawn intense media attention because Morlock and fellow soldiers are accused of taking ghoulish photos of corpses and taking body parts as war trophies -- inflammatory charges that recall worldwide outrage at pictures of nude Iraqi prisoners of war taken by U.S. military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The U.S. Army confirmed that the investigating officer's report was complete but declined to comment on its contents.