By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Army prosecutors say a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers should face a court martial and, ultimately, the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales committed “heinous and despicable crimes.”
Prosecutors made their closing arguments after a week of testimony in the preliminary hearing.
An attorney for Bales argued that there was not enough information to move forward with the court martial.
Prosecutors say the 39-year-old Bales slipped away from his remote base at Camp Belambay in southern Afghanistan to attack two villages early on March 11.
Among the dead were nine children.
Afghan witnesses who testified by video link from Kandahar described a single U.S. soldier barging into their homes and shooting civilians.