Army seeks death penalty against Lewis-McChord soldier

SEATTLE — The Army says it will seek the death penalty against the soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers during pre-dawn raids in March.

The announcement Wednesday followed a pretrial hearing last month for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.

Prosecutors say Bales left his remote base in southern Afghanistan early on March 11. Prosecutors say he first attacked one village, returned to the base, and then slipped away again to attack another nearby compound. Sixteen people were killed, nine of them children.

No date has been set for his court martial, which will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

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