Washington: In the search for an explanation of why a US soldier left his base in Afghanistan at night and killed 16 civilians in their homes, some experts have raised the possibility that mental illness or a brain injury may have played a role in the massacre.
The staff sergeant, believed to be 38, could be executed if convicted.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said the suspect would be brought to justice under the US military legal code, which allows for the death penalty in some cases, in spite of Afghanistan’s demand that the man be tried in an Afghanistan court.
He is accused of breaking into village homes and opening fire, killing 16 people including women and children.
“Then at some point after that (he) came back to the forward operating base and basically turned himself in, told individuals what happened,” Panetta said on Monday.