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Crime & Courts

Jury selection begins in sentencing of soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians

Jury selection is underway in the sentencing of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians during raids on two villages last year.

Bales pleaded guilty in June to premeditated murder and other charges in a deal to avoid the death penalty. This week's sentencing will determine whether he is sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, or without it.

Jury selection began Tuesday with a pool of 10 — five officers and five enlisted soldiers, with challenges from lawyers expected to whittle that down. The eventual panel must include at least five jurors.

The Army has flown in nine villagers from Kandahar Province to testify at the sentencing.

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