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Staff Sgt. Bales Pleads Guilty

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SEATTLE (AP) — The Army staff sergeant charged with murdering 16 Afghan villagers during pre-dawn raids last year has agreed to plead guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

John Henry Browne, an attorney for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, tells The Associated Press that the Ohio native will enter the plea June 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle. The judge and commanding general must approve a plea deal.

A sentencing-phase trial will determine whether he is sentenced to life with or life without the possibility of parole. Browne says Bales will give his account of what happened the night of the rampage. The 39-year-old father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., left his remote southern Afghanistan outpost early on March 11, 2012, and attacked two nearby villages.

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