“My count is 20.”
That is what Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales told a fellow soldier hours after he allegedly carried out a killing spree covering two Afghan villages on March 11, according to a military prosecutor who spoke during a pre-trial hearing Monday.
Bales, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, chillingly and methodically shot, killed and, in one case burned, entire civilian households, Lt. Col. Jospeh Morse told the military judge today.
Morse described how Bales – who sat in the court room in a camouflage uniform and sporting a shaved head - allegedly left his base, most likely out a southern gate and under the eye of an Afghan guard, and walked 600 meters north.
After the shootings and killings, he walked back to his base, his body caught on surveillance footage that was played for the court. He left base and came back again later that morning, Morse said.
When questioned by an Afghan guard, Bales, whose clothes were covered in blood from his victims, greeted him in the guard's native language.
He did this again, the second time allegedly shooting his victims in the head and burning their bodies. The second time, when confronted outside of his base, Bales dropped his gun and was apprehended.
Bales appeared for his pre-trial hearing today. He faces numerous charges in the Article 32 hearing, including 16 specifications of premeditated murder.
Patch Editor Brent Champaco is attending the trial and will be providing updates via the comment section below.
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