The American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year has pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales entered the plea Wednesday in a military courtroom to multiple counts of premeditated murder and other charges.
A military judge will question the soldier about what happened before deciding whether to accept the plea.
Bales was charged in the March 2012 attacks on two villages near the remote base in southern Afghanistan where he was posted. Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were burned.
Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne, has said he expects his client to admit to "very specific facts" about the killings at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.
Although Wednesday's proceedings will provide Bales' account for the first time, survivors who testified by video link from Afghanistan during a hearing last fall vividly recalled the carnage.
A young girl in a bright headscarf described hiding behind her father as he was shot to death. Boys told of hiding behind curtains as others scrambled and begged the soldier to spare them, yelling: "We are children! We are children!" A thick-bearded man told of being shot in the neck by a gunman "as close as this bottle," gesturing to a water bottle on a table in front of him.
Prosecutors say that before dawn on March 11, 2012, Bales slipped away from Camp Belambay in Kandahar Province, armed with a 9 mm pistol and M-4 rifle outfitted with a grenade launcher.
He first attacked one village of mud-walled compounds, Alkozai, then returned to the base, woke up a fellow soldier and told him about it. The soldier didn't believe him and went back to sleep. Bales then left to attack a second village, Najiban.
The massacre prompted such angry protests that the U.S. temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan, and it was three weeks before Army investigators could reach the crime scene.
Bales was serving his fourth combat deployment and had an otherwise good if undistinguished military record in a decade-long career. The Ohio native suffered from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, his lawyers say, and he had been drinking contraband alcohol and snorting Valium -- both provided by other soldiers -- the night of the killings.
The case raised questions about the toll multiple deployments were taking on American troops. For that reason, many legal experts believed it was unlikely he would receive the death penalty, as Army prosecutors were seeking. The military justice system hasn't executed anyone since 1961, but five men currently face death sentences.
"Any time you can strike a deal that saves your client's life, I would call that a win," said Dan Conway, a civilian military defense lawyer who is not involved in the case. "This is the right result for both parties."
A Texas man was reportedly Tasered by police after trying to run into a burning home to save his infant son.
The fire broke out at the grandparents' home in San Antonio on Sunday. The grandparents pulled one boy to rescue, but soon realized his 8-month-old brother was still trapped inside, Kens5.com reports.
When the boys' father arrived on the scene, he tried repeatedly to enter the burning home. Police held him back and finally resorted to using a Taser on him for his own safety, according to officials.
The infant died in the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A Detroit police officer is defending his decision not to arrest a murder suspect on the street a few hours before an unsuccessful attempt to catch the man led to the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl.
Raymond Trammell says he was sitting alone in an unmarked car when suspect Chauncey Owens walked by. He says it would have been extremely dangerous to try to arrest Owens and would have violated policy for officers on surveillance.
Trammell testified Wednesday in the trial of a fellow officer, Joseph Weekley. Weekley's gun accidentally fired during a raid to capture Owens in a Detroit house, killing Aiyana Stanley-Jones in May 2010.
Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter. The jury is expected to hear from a key witness, Aiyana's grandmother.
Taco Bell is firing a California employee who was photographed licking a stack of taco shells.
The shot was made in March at a Taco Bell in Ridgecrest, 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
Taco Bell Products Inc. says the shells were provided for workers to practice making its new Cool Ranch tacos and were thrown out without being sold.
The Irvine-based company says the photograph was taken for a contest showing employees enjoying their first bite of the product. It wasn't submitted, but a worker posted it to a Facebook page -- which violates company policy.
Taco Bell says the worker also violated food handling procedures.
The company says the licker has been suspended and will be fired, while the photographer no longer works at the restaurant.