Robert Bales to plead guilty, attorney tells Associated Press

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the Lake Tapps man accused in the slaughter of 16 Afghan civilians, will plead guilty as charged June 5.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the Lake Tapps man accused in the slaughter of 16 Afghan civilians, will plead guilty as charged June 5.

Defense attorney John Henry Browne told the Associated Press, in a story released Wednesday, Bales, 39, would submit the plea to military court at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to avoid the death penalty, pending approval by the judge and commanding general.

Bales will provide his account of the events that occurred March 11, 2012, Browne told the AP.

A guilty plea and plea deal would result in a life sentence for the accused. Sentencing will determine whether he is eligible for parole.

Prior to the attack that brought the current charges, Bales was on his fourth deployment overseas following three tours in Iraq.

On March 11 2012, an Afghan soldier noticed Bales was AWOL from Camp Belambay, where he was stationed, and initiated a base-wide search. Bales is believed to have walked on foot to the villages of Balandi and Alkozai in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, where he allegedly stabbed and shot civilians, including women and children. Some of the bodies had been set on fire, presumably to destroy forensic evidence.

Two days later, an Afghan government delegation visiting the site of the killings was attacked by Taliban forces.

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