The Army has charged that Sergeant Bales, 39, who was serving his fourth combat tour, walked away from a remote outpost in southern Afghanistan and shot and stabbed members of several families in an ambush in two villages in the early morning hours of March 11. At least nine of the people he is accused of killing were children.
Sergeant Bales has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have cited post-traumatic stress and a head injury. (Also note: four combat tours.) For the death penalty to be imposed, "the court-martial panel must unanimously find Sergeant Bales guilty" and then the death sentence must "be approved by the president to be carried out."