JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year has pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales entered the plea Wednesday in a military courtroom to multiple counts of premeditated murder and other charges.
A military judge will question the soldier about what happened before deciding whether to accept the plea.
Bales was charged in the March 2012 attacks on two villages near the remote base in southern Afghanistan where he was posted. Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were burned.
Bales’ attorney, John Henry Browne, has said he expects his client to admit to “very specific facts” about the killings at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.