Sgt. Robert Bales charged with 17 counts of murder in Afghan massacre

By Muriel Kane
Friday, March 23, 2012 22:18 EDT
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The sergeant who is alleged to have engaged in a masscre of Afghan civilians during a nighttime attack on March 11 has been charged with seventeen counts of premeditated murder, as well as counts of assault and attempted murder against six additional victims who survived their wounds.

At least nine of the alleged victims were children and several others were women. Potential penalties range from a minimum of a life sentence with a possibility of parole up to a death sentence as the maximum.

With the announcement of charges, the case has now formally entered the U.S. military justice system. This is in defiance of the wishes of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and many other Afghans, who wanted Bales to be tried in their country and have criticized the Americans for quickly whisking him back to the U.S.

Bales’ lawyer, John Henry Browne, appears to be preparing to base Bales’ defense on the trauma sustained by him during his four deployments, including the possibility of permanent brain damage from a concussion when his vehicle rolled over during a deployment in Iraq.

Browne also suggests that unless Bales confesses, the case will be hard to prove because of the lack of any hard crime scene or DNA evidence.

This video is from CBS News, March 23, 2012.

Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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