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Army Orders Death Penalty Trial For Sgt. Bales

High Desert Warrior

The U.S. Army will seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. The Army announced Wednesday the Washington-based soldier will face a general court-martial for allegedly killing 16 Afghan civilians – mostly women and children – earlier this year. 

The Army’s decision to put Bales before a court-martial that has the authority to impose capital punishment follows the recommendation of a pre-trial hearing officer. Bales is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder as well as other crimes.

According to the Army, for the death penalty to be imposed, the court-martial members would have unanimously agree on three things: Bales committed at least one capital punishment-eligible crime, at least one aggravating factor existed and that aggravating factor is not outweighed by extenuating or mitigating circumstances.

Bales was on his fourth combat deployment at the time of the killing spree. His defense team has suggested the Army is culpable for not properly screening Bales for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The last U.S. military execution was in the 1960s.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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