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The U.S. Army is seeking the death penalty against a soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn rampage in March, a punishment some experts say could be hard for prosecutors to obtain given that he was serving his fourth deployment at the time.

The announcement Wednesday followed a pretrial hearing last month for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, who faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.

Prosecutors said Bales left his remote southern Afghanistan base early on March 11, attacked one village and returned to the base, then slipped away again to attack another nearby compound. Of the 16 people killed, nine were children.

The decision to put the death penalty on the table drew harsh words from Bales’ lawyer, John Henry Browne, who met with Army officials last week to dissuade them from seeking execution.

Read more at the Miami Herald

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