US soldier pleads guilty in Afghan massacre case
A US soldier charged in a shooting spree in which 16 Afghan civilians were killed pleaded guilty to the slayings Tuesday in a military court, the Seattle Times and dpa reported.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales faced 16 murder charges and six attempted murder charges in the March 2012 shootings.
If his guilty plea is accepted, he would face life in prison, avoiding the death penalty sought by Army prosecutors in the court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the US state of Washington.
He pleaded not guilty to another charge of attempting to impede an investigation, the newspaper said.
Bales allegedly slipped away from his military base before dawn on March 11, 2012, and entered homes in a nearby village in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan and shot the civilians, many of whom were sleeping.
Nine children were among the dead, and 11 victims were from one family.