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Army to Seek Death Penalty for Soldier in Deadly Afghan Rampage

by VOA News December 19, 2012

The U.S. Army is recommending the death penalty for an American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a shooting rampage earlier this year.

Prosecutors say Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales attacked two villages in the early morning hours of March 11. They say he left his remote base in southern Afghanistan and walked to a nearby village and killed residents, before returning to base, leaving a second time and walking to another village, where he killed more people. The dead included children.

Bales appeared in a military courtroom in November in Washington state. Prosecutors allege he was 'lucid,' 'coherent' and 'responsive' when he carried out the attack. His lawyers say he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bales is an 11-year military veteran. He faces 16 counts of premeditated murder, six counts of attempted murder, seven counts of assault, two counts of using drugs and one count of using alcohol while deployed. A date for his court martial has not been set.

The U.S. military has not executed a service member in five decades.

U.S. forces have paid compensation to the families of those killed and wounded in the attack.

Bales was on his fourth war zone deployment, after three in Iraq, where reports say he suffered a brain injury.

Some information for this report provided by AP.



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