Sgt. Robert Bales admits to Afghan massacre

By WEEK Producer

Sgt. Robert Bales admits to Afghan massacre

June 5, 2013 Updated Jun 5, 2013 at 4:25 PM CDT

The American soldier charged with slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers, many of them women and children, has pleaded guilty.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 39, of Lake Tapps, Ohio, struck a deal with Army prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.

Bales, a father of two, appeared in a Washington State military courtroom in uniform and pleaded guilty to 16 counts of murder, 6 counts of attempted murder and 7 counts of assault in connection to two nighttime raids. He pleaded not guilty to a charge involving a stolen laptop.

A military jury will determine if his life sentence will include the possibility of parole. The sentencing-phase trial is set to start in September.

In March, Bales left his remote outpost in the Kandahar province during the pre-dawn hours to go on a shooting spree in two nearby villages.

During Wednesday's hearing, Bales said he could not explain why he did it.

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