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News Link • Afghanistan

Soldiers recall massacre suspect's behavior in Afghanistan

•, By Kim Murphy
"He said he'd just been to Alkozai, shot some people.... 'I shot some military-age males.' And I said, no you didn't," Sgt. Jason McLaughlin testified on the opening day of an Article 32 hearing for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is charged with attacking two small farm villages during assaults that spanned five hours.
The two-week hearing in a military courtroom south of Seattle will include testimony from witnesses in the U.S. and Afghanistan to determine whether Bales should be held for a court-marital. He faces 16 charges of premeditated murder and six additional counts of attempted murder. Bales could be sentenced to death if convicted.
 McLaughlin said Bales during his late-night visit told him he was going to the village of Najiban - the scene of the second attack - and he would be back at 5. McLaughlin said he was half asleep and didn't believe Bales was serious.

"Then he grabbed my hand," McLaughlin testified. "He said, 'Take care of my kids.' And I said, 'No, Bob, take care of your own kids.' And he left."

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