Soldier charged with 17 murder counts in Afghan shootings
U.S. officials have alleged that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales killed more than a dozen people in two villages in southern Afghanistan.
March 23rd, 2012
02:38 PM ET

Soldier charged with 17 murder counts in Afghan shootings

[Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET] Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales could be sentenced to death if convicted on any of the 17 counts of murder filed against him Friday for allegedly embarking on a bloody shooting rampage in Afghan villages, the U.S. military said.

In addition to the charges accusing him of murder "with premeditation," the 38-year-old faces six counts of assault and attempted murder.

Authorities say Bales left a remote outpost in Kandahar province's Panjwai district early March 11 and went house-to-house, gunning down villagers.

U.S. and Afghan officials initially said 16 people, including nine children, died in those attacks. The counts indicate that one more person died, though Afghan government officials in Kabul have they have no record of another death.

Col. Gary Kolb, a spokesman with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said only that the investigators assigned to the case felt they had enough evidence to charge Bales with 17 counts of murder. There was no indication as to where the other fatality came from, though it was not related to a pregnant woman, as has been rumored.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Courts • Crime • Justice • Military • U.S. Army
soundoff (319 Responses)
  1. Al

    This Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who should never have been sent back into any war zone should be tried for his actions. But not until that Muslim Major from Ft Hood has his day in court. Oh yes they guy has to be hung really quick all to make the people that failed him not as guilty, his entire chain of command failed Staff Sgt. Robert Bales his Captain, his Major, the base commander and yes those fat guys that wear stars. And let's not skip the Sgt Major. he too failed on his job.

    So let get back to that Major, yes he should be in court first, just roll him in, since someone failed to take this Benedict Arnold out this Major should have had a bounty put on his head the minute he took out a weapon and started shooting Americans, true Americans he is nothing more than a sheep in wolf clothing. The facts are facts Staff Sgt. Robert Bales should never have been there, but he was a hero who did multiple tours in different war zones, and that Major that infiltrated the ranks well he counter punched and for some reason we're still keeping him alive and has not been convicted, so why the rush to sentence Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, let's finish with the Major first.

    March 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. oldborder

    How about the Islamic terrorist that killed the innocent in Fort Hood? When are we going to give him a fair trail?

    March 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • miami1111

      Well, the justice system is really subjective. The same type of people committing the same crime in the same state will probably not receive the same punishment. That's why some people go to jail for little things, and others avoid jail for greater crimes, like drug trafficking. Depends on the Judge's decision and the prosecutors.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • wow

      they mass evidence on him and confession. the muslim guy at fort hood.

      March 26, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. NewMexicoman

    Afghan officials "have they have" ? Typical poor writing by CNM staff

    March 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. leeintulsa

    i just heard a new finding on the news. this psycho started killing, stopped, went back to base for some reason, then went back out killing again.. that is *not* a spontaneous break.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. patriot

    For those of you who mock the military by saying things like,heartbreakers and lifetakers or agree with those west borou or whatever "church"members they fight and die for YOUR freedom and everyone elses. those CULT members are monsters for saying thank god for dead soldiers and thank god for IED'S.They all deserve do DIE horrible painful deaths and burn in their damn religions hell!

    March 26, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. wow

    How are they going to prove the soldier shot and killed 17ppl?
    Video tape? Did not show him committing the crime.
    Lack of ammo? Could have lost it.
    Witnesses? What a witnesses that will sell their daughter/son/friend for 100 dollars is not reliable witness.
    This statement does not help “President Karzai including his brothers was fired on as they tried to mourn the dead and gather information in the villages of the Panjwai district”.
    His weapon was fired? It is combat.
    How do you know it was 17? You don’t even have all the names.
    If somebody shot at President Karzai brother who says they did not shot at these ppl?

    I really want this guy punished for the crime he may have committed but with lack of evidence it goes nowhere.

    If he had a half way descent lawyer he would not be detained for lack of evidence in the matter. Maybe for leaving the base but nothing else. When new evidence is submitted the defendant has the right to know.

    March 26, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. lewtwo

    Send him to Afghanistan. Let him face Sharia law.

    March 26, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    The trial will sort this out. If he in fact did this horrible act, he should be sentenced to death. I am in the military, and I and the vast majority of us try to live and serve by a code of honor. There was / is no honor in sneaking out and laying waste to a bunch of civilians. Granted, this type of war is hard to fight, you never really know who the enemy is, and for the most part it seems that the biggest enemy are IED's but we as military members of the US MUST adhere to our code of ethics and take the high road on all matters. As we have seen, there are always a few people out there that don't think the rules apply, and ruin the hard work and sacrifices of so many that came before. I hope they get this one right, because it's going to send a strong message either way.

    March 26, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Larp

    One question – everyone is SO WORRIED about what the muslims think in this case – what the HELL about the muslim Major in OUR army that killed 29 soldiers at Ft Hood TX, and he has not even been tried yet!

    March 26, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. eroteme

    Believing we can buy most anything with our $$$, we will see if we can buy goodwill by donating whacks of $50,000 to each family, relatives? How about neighbors?

    March 26, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    Put the lotion on the skin

    March 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
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