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U.S. Soldier To Plead Guilty To Massacre Of 16

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (left)
The U.S. soldier accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers last year is expected to plead guilty in return for avoiding the death penalty.

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is expected to enter the plea on June 5 when he appears before a military tribunal at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington.

Bales, 39, faces 16 counts of murder, six of attempted murder, and seven of assault over the massacre in southern Afghanistan last March.

Seventeen of the 22 victims killed or injured were women or children.

Bales’ lawyer announced last week that he had reached an agreement with the military that Bales would plead guilty if prosecutors stopped pursuing the death penalty.

Some Afghan family members of the victims have demanded that Bales be executed.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP