Soldier Due to Plead Guilty in Afghan Massacre

In this Aug. 23, 2011, file photo provided by the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
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By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — The American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year is expected to plead guilty in a military courtroom Wednesday in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales faces premeditated murder and other charges in the March 2012 attacks on two villages near the remote base in southern Afghanistan where he was posted. Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were burned.

[READ: Afghan Massacre Case Goes to Court]

Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne, has said he expects his client to admit to "very specific facts" about the killings when he appears at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

The military judge will question the soldier from Lake Tapps, Wash., about what happened before deciding whether to accept the plea.

Bales is an Ohio native and father of two.


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