Sgt. Bales Charged With 17 Counts Of Murder; Could Get Death Penalty

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the March 11 killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Afghanistan, The Associated Press just reported from Kabul.

It adds that “premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death.”

The 38-year-old soldier also faces six charges of attempted murder and six counts of assault. He is currently being held at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas.

As the AP notes, the massacre “was the worst allegation of civilian killings by an American and has severely strained U.S.-Afghan ties at a critical time in the decade-old war.”

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.