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Crime & Courts

US soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians to face victims, relatives at sentencing

Prosecutors have started laying out their case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for jurors tasked with determining whether the soldier should ever have a chance of being released from prison for the slaying of 16 Afghan civilians last year.

Bales has already pleaded guilty to premeditated murder and other charges in the pre-dawn attack on two villages in Kandahar Province in March 2012.

Lt. Col. Jay Morse on Tuesday began reading a 32-page stipulation of facts to a jury of six soldiers selected earlier in the day. He recounted that Bales was under personal, professional and financial stress that made him feel "inadequate as a soldier and as a man" the night of the attack.

Five villagers, including surviving victims, were tentatively expected to testify later Tuesday.

The jury is deciding whether Bales should get life in prison with the possibility of parole, or without it.

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