The US Army said Wednesday it is seeking the death penalty against the soldier said to massacre 16 Afghan villagers in late night raids in March, according to Yahoo News.
Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, faces premeditated murder and other charges in the slaughter of two villages in southern Afghanistan. This announcement followed the pretrail hearing last month for the Afghanistan killings.
Bales, who grew up near Norwood, Ohio, left his remote base in southern Afghanistan early on March 11, attacked one village, and returned to the base, then slipping away again to attack another nearby compound. Nine children were among the 16 people killed.
Bales’ court martial will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, yes no court date has thus far been set.
John Henry Browne, Bales’ civilian lawyer, did not immediately return an email seeking comment Wednesday. But on Tuesday, he met with Army officials last week to state that Bales should not face the death penalty, as Bales had been serving his fourth deployment in a war zone, Browne told The Associated Press.
Afghan massacre suspect Sgt Robert Bales to face US court martial and possible death penalty
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) December 19, 2012
Outside experts are saying a key issue going forward will be to determine whether Bales suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
An Army criminal investigations command special agent testified at the pretrial hearing that Bales tested positive for steroids three days after the killings, and other soldiers claimed Bales had been drinking the evening of the massacre.
Several soldiers have gone on record at the hearing that Bales returned to the base alone just before dawn, covered in blood, and had made statements such as:
“I thought I was doing the right thing.”
The US Army temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan, as the slayings drew such angry protests, and three weeks passed before American investigators could reach the crime scenes.