Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to be charged with killing 17

Laura Rozen
The Envoy

Pentagon officials said Thursday that they expect Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, to be charged on Friday on 17 counts of murder, among other lesser charges.

The charges "are expected tomorrow," a U.S. official told Yahoo News Thursday night on condition of anonymity.

"The charges signed against Bales include 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault as well as dereliction of duty and other violations of military law," the Associated Press reported.

The official said he could not explain why Bales was expected to be charged on 17 counts of murder, when the number of Afghan civilians reported to have been killed in a March 11 shooting rampage in Panjwai district, southern Afghanistan was 16, including 9 children.

Bales' Seattle civilian defense attorney John Henry Browne said this week that he would travel to Afghanistan to do his own investigation into what transpired, saying the charges would be hard to prove.

Browne had earlier suggested that the Army should not have sent Bales to Afghanistan after he suffered a concussive brain injury on his third tour in Iraq after his vehicle hit an IED.

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