Photo: Spc. Ryan Hallock, 28th Public Affairs/U.S. Army
The wife of an Afghan villager killed in a massacre blamed solely on a decorated U.S. officer told an Army investigator that more than one soldier was present in the March attack, Bill Rigby of Reuters reports. The woman’s account, relayed in a pre-trial hearing by Army criminal investigator Leona Mansapit, casts doubt on the government’s case that Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales acted alone in the rampage that killed 16 Afghan villagers in two villages before dawn on March 11.
Military prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Bales and say that they will present evidence of “chilling premeditation” that will prove he acted alone.
Mansapit said that the Afghan woman recalled a gunman entering the couple’s room shouting about the Taliban and took her husband out of the room while another U.S. soldier blocked the door. Mansapit added that the woman said she saw more soldiers outside “speaking English among themselves.”
The testimony echoes several other witness statements.
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