U.S. Soldier Charged In Afghan Shooting Rampage

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Friday, March 23, 2012

The U.S. military says Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in a shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan.

Premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death.

Col. Gary Kolb, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says Bales was also charged Friday with six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault.

The 38-year-old father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington, is accused of leaving a U.S. military post on March 11, killing nine Afghan children and eight adults and burning some of the bodies in Panjwai district of Kandahar province. Six other Afghan civilians were wounded in the attack.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The attorney for the U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians says his client has memory problems that pre-date the March 11 shootings.

John Henry Browne said that he spent 11 hours this week with Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in detention at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Bales is expected to be formally presented Friday with charges including 17 counts of murder as well as a string of other offenses.

Browne said Bales had earlier suffered a "serious" concussion, and that it was not treated "for a variety of reasons," which Browne did not explain.

Browne said his reaction to the government's allegations is: "Prove it." And he said he believes the government will have difficulty proving its case against Bales. He said "there is no crime scene" and a lack of important physical evidence like fingerprints.

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