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Published March 23, 2012
(Photo) Defense Department – Aug. 23, 2011: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is seen in this image from a military newsletter participating in a training exercise meant to simulate contact with local Afghan civilians.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was charged on Friday with 17 counts of premeditated murder, a capital offense that could lead to the death penalty in the massacre of Afghan civilians, the U.S. military said.
The 38-year-old soldier is accused of walking off a U.S. military base with his 9mm pistol and M-4 rifle, which was outfitted with a grenade launcher, before dawn on March 11, killing nine Afghan children and eight adults and burning some of the bodies. It was the worst allegation of civilian killings by an American and has severely strained U.S.-Afghan ties at a critical time in the decade-old war.
Will suspect face the death penalty?