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war crimes

Soldier Will Admit to Killing Sixteen Afghan Villagers, and Discuss the Shooting

In this detail of a courtroom sketch, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, center, is shown Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, during a preliminary hearing in a military courtroom at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. Bales is accused of 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder for a pre-dawn attack on two villages in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan in March 2012. At right is Investigating Officer Col. Lee Deneke, and at left is Bales' attorney, Emma Scanlan. (AP Photo/Lois Silver) TV OUT A courtroom sketch of Bales from November 2012.

Under a plea deal with Army prosecutors, the soldier accused of slipping away from his unit and killing sixteen afghan civilians last year will not face the death penalty if he admits to the crime and finally talks publicly about it. It will be the first time Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will have spoken openly about the night he allegedly went on his killing spree. So far, he's said he remembers very little about it. "But as further details and records emerged, Bales began to remember what he did, the lawyer said, and he will admit to 'very specific fact' about the shootings," the AP reports. The relatives of those killed said no prison sentence was harsh enough. One who lost his daughter and mother told the AP: "I know we have no power now. But I will become stronger, and if he does not hang, I will have my revenge."

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Photo: Lois Silver