Army Sergeant Who Allegedly Killed 16 Civilians in Afghanistan Could Face Death Penalty

The article below was written by the Boston Herald and talks about the army sergeant who shot 16 civilians, nine of them children, in Afghanistan on Sunday. The army sergeant could face up to the death penalty for his actions.

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Soldier could face death penalty in Afghan rampage, Panetta says

ABOARD A U.S. AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT — The U.S. Army staff sergeant who allegedly killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan during the weekend could face the death penalty if convicted in the unprovoked attack, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Monday.

“My understanding is that in these instances that could be a consideration,” Panetta said, referring to the death penalty as he flew aboard an Air Force jet to Kyrgyzstan for meetings with officials there.

Pentagon officials have not released the soldier’s name and say they are still unclear on his motive for carrying out the attack, which sparked a crisis in the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan and raised questions about whether the Obama administration will have to adjust its strategy.

Panetta indicated that the soldier turned himself in and told superiors what had happened, raising the possibility that he may have confessed.

“He went out in the morning, early morning, and went to these homes and fired on these families and then at some point after that came back to the forward operations base and basically turned himself in, told individuals what had happened,” Panetta said.

Pressed on whether the soldier confessed, Panetta said, “I suspect that was the case.”

A confession would make it easier for military prosecutors to win a conviction if it was admitted as evidence at a military court-martial.

It is unclear where such a court-martial would be held, though the most likely venue would be Fort Lewis in Washington state, where the soldier’s unit is based.

Referring to the shootings as a “criminal act,” Panetta said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had been assured that the person responsible “will be brought to justice and held accountable.”



About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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