News / USA

US Soldier Pleads Guilty to Afghan Massacre

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (US Defense Department photo)
Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (US Defense Department photo)
VOA News
The U.S. soldier charged with deliberately killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan last year has pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty.

At a hearing in a military courtroom in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington on Wednesday, Army Sergeant Robert Bales entered his plea to 16 counts of premeditated murder.  A short while later, a military judge accepted that plea agreement.

Bales' sentencing hearing, expected in August, will determine if he ever will be eligible for parole.

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (3rd L)is seen in a courtroom sketch at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 17, 2013.Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (3rd L)is seen in a courtroom sketch at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 17, 2013.
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Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (3rd L)is seen in a courtroom sketch at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 17, 2013.
Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (3rd L)is seen in a courtroom sketch at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 17, 2013.
The former staff sergeant was charged in March 2012 with attacks on two villages near a remote military base in southern Afghanistan.  Most of the victims were women and children, and investigators said some of the bodies were burned.

Investigators said the assault was revenge for a bombing that seriously wounded another soldier.

Defense lawyers said Bales was on his fourth combat tour in Afghanistan and was suffering post-traumatic stress and the effects of a concussion at the time of the killings.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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Comments
     
by: Haron from: Afghanistan
June 08, 2013 12:54 PM
I think it is not good to send him to jail. he is not blame. in a country that 40% are in extremists in South and East. it must be happen. exactly the lawyers are uneducated and undeveloped from situations of Afghanistan. beside he was full of stress from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I had better to sent him to Northern of Afghanistan rather than South. because there is more quiet (peaceful) than other sides of Afghanistan. as today we see in East that gunman killed three US soldiers. in this case what will the lawyers get decide on James? he must be free as soon as the situation narrate.

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