Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleads guilty to avoid death penalty

June 5, 2013

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pled guilty today to the premeditated murder of 16 Afghans in exchange for avoiding the death penalty, according to a report from Russia Today.

The American soldier charged with murdering 16 Afghan civilians a year ago near Kandahar province pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, entered the plea inside of a military courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state early Wednesday, the Associated Press reported from the site.

According to the AP, a military judge will hear Bales’ firsthand account of what happened during the March 2012 outburst before deciding if the plea will be accepted by the court.

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The AP wrote Wednesday afternoon that Bales pleaded guilty to all 16 counts, but came short of doing such for another charge lobbed against him: impeding an investigation. If the judge accepts his plea, a jury will likely decide later this summer the fate for the soldier — life, or life without the possibility of parole.

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