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.