Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with seventeen counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder according to senior US officials for his March 11, 2012 raid on civilians in Afghanistan.
Original reports include nine women, four children and three men; however, another victim may be known but information has not yet been released.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was currently on his fourth deployment when the killings occurred. This attack is considered one of the worst civilian casualty incidents during the entire war. According to Bales' attorney John Henry Browne, Staff Sgt. Bales does not recall what happened during the attack. Bales has been held in solitary confinement at Fort Leavenworth Kansas since the crimes occurred, as the investigation continues.
US officials believe that they may seek the death penalty in this case; however the decision has not yet been made clear. Another service member committed a crime in the 1980s and was placed on death row in 2008, when President George Bush signed off on the official punishment for the crimes.
Bales was previously arrested in 2002 for criminal assault against a security guard at a casino in Tacoma, Washington. He was again connected to a crime in 2008 for fighting at a bowling alley.
Investigations will determine if Bales was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when the crimes occurred in order to avoid a death penalty sentence.