US soldier accused of killing Afghans to avoid execution

By REUTERS
May 30, 2013 00:14

 
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SEATTLE - A US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in two rampages from his Army post last year has reached a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Robert Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is accused of gunning down villagers, mostly women and children, in attacks on their family compounds in Kandahar province in March 2012.

One of his lawyers, Emma Scanlan, said in an email he would plead guilty to premeditated murder charges and would then go before a military jury for sentencing to determine whether a life prison term for his crimes would include the possibility of parole.

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