US soldier charged in 17 Afghan murders, could face death penalty
US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was charged Friday with 17 counts of murder in the March 11 killings of Afghan civilians, dpa reported.
Bales could face the death penalty for 17 counts of murder with premeditation, along with six counts of attempted murder against additional civilians in Kandahar province, US forces in Afghanistan said in a statement.
Bales, 38, is accused of leaving his military base and killing the civilians, many of whom were sleeping, in their homes in a village in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.
Nine children were among the dead. Eleven of the victims were from one family.
Bales is detained in the military's top-security prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after he was flown out of Afghanistan despite demands by Afghan officials for a trial in an Afghan court.