A U.S. soldier other than Chelsea Manning has been handed a hefty prison sentence in recent days.
United States Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for the shooting of 22 Afghan villagers – many of them children – on March 11, 2010. 16 of the victims died.
Bales was serving his fourth deployment tour in Afghanistan in 2010. On March 11, he stalked through mud compounds in the Kandahar providence of Afghanistan and opened fire on villagers. Many of the people he shot were sleeping and had no chance of escaping or defending themselves.
He pleaded guilty to the murders earlier this year in a deal that would exempt him from being executed for the crimes. After today’s ruling, he will spend his life behind bars.
Bales showed little emotion and spoke with a steady voice during the closing arguments of his trial yesterday.
“I am a mass of fear and bullsh*t and bravado,” he said. “I'm truly, truly sorry to those people whose families got taken away. I can't comprehend their loss. I think about it every time I look at my kids."
Witnesses from the Afghan village were invited to testify against Bales during his trial. Hajii Mohammed Wazir was on hand. Bales killed 11 of his family members during his rampage.
"We wanted this murderer to be executed," he said. “We were brought all the way from Afghanistan to see if justice would be served. Not our way – justice was served the American way.
“I saw his mother trying to cry, but at least she can go visit him. “What about us? Our family members are actually 6 feet under."