- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lawyers for Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier who stands accused of killing 16 citizens while in Afghanistan, say he has struck a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.

He’s set to plead guilty to premeditated murder, attorney Emma Scanlan said in an email to Reuters. The maximum sentence he could then receive is life, but he could still be given parole. Ms. Scanlan said a military jury would decide that sentence, starting in August, Reuters reported.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty. But defense attorneys said the soldier — who was a decorated veteran with four combat tours in Iran and Afghanistan — was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. They also argued that he had a brain injury, Reuters reported.

Mr. Bales will enter a guilty plea on June 5, pending approval of the judge at that hearing, Reuters said. The plea hearing is set for Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.