U.S. Army sergeant charged in 16 Afghan killings pleads guilty

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The U.S. soldier who was charged with going on a shooting spree and killing 16 Afghan civilians pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales admitted to a military judge that he’s guilty of premeditated murder and several related charges. The judge still has to decide whether or not to accept the plea, AP reported.

Sgt. Bales was arrested and charged in March 2012 after a nighttime attack on two different villages in southern Afghanistan, where he was stationed. Most of those killed were women and children — and some of their bodies were burned after being shot, AP reported.

Defense attorney John Henry Browne said Sgt. Bales likely would admit to “very specific facts” about the shootings, but the lawyer did not detail further.

Sgt. Bales‘ guilty plea means he will avoid the death penalty, AP said.

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