US Soldier Robert Bales Who Massacred 16 Afghans Sentenced For Life


US army sergeant Robert Bales, who killed 16 Afghan villagers, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole on Friday.

The prosecutor called Bales, who killed 16 Afghan villagers during a rampage,the “worst kind of criminal” who should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A six-member military panel returned their sentence after less than two hours of deliberations following a harrowing five-day hearing.

In final submissions before a military hearing passes sentence on Robert Bales, 40, the prosecution said the soldier had shown no remorse for his actions and should never be given the opportunity of parole.

“There is only one appropriate sentence for the senseless slaughter of 16 innocent people – a sentence reserved for the worst crimes and worst criminals – confinement for life without eligibility for parole,” Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Morse said.

Bales pleaded guilty in June to killing the villagers in a deal brokered by his defence team to avoid the death penalty.

In a chilling closing speech, the prosecution recounted the horrific trail of destruction left by Bales on the night of March 11, 2012 when he decamped from his base to attack a nearby village in the Panjwayi district of southern Kandahar province.

The prosecution showed graphic photos of Bales’ victims including an old woman who was the soldier’s last victim.

“Bales stomped on her head with such force that the next morning when her nephew tried to move her, her eyeballs fell out of her head,” Lt-Col Morse told the six-member panel.

The prosecution also dismissed Bales’ unsworn statement to the hearing on Thursday when he apologised for his actions but offered no explanation.

“Sergeant Bales is a man with no moral compass, with no man to blame and nothing to blame but himself,” Lt-Col Morse said.

He “liked how it felt, liked the power, liked the respect he thought it gave him. Because he doesn’t care a shred for any Afghan, he thinks they’re all bad, he liked murdering.”

The soldier’s actions had directly impacted no fewer than 48 children, the prosecutor said.

“48 children directly impacted by Sergeant Bales action – murdered, injured, witness to a murder, or left fatherless by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales,” Lt-Col Morse said. “Bales asks you for mercy. But is his eventual freedom worth the life of a grandmother, one innocent child, even one innocent person, an entire family?

“There will never be enough time for Haji Wazeer to share with you the pain he feels in his heart,” Lt-Col Morse added citing the grief of one Afghan villager who lost 11 family members in the attack.

“Is Sergeant Bales’ freedom worth that? The memories of a dead husband or father or brother?”

“He dishonoured his profession, he dishonoured his army, and he dishonoured his country.

“Send a message to him – he doesn’t stand among heroes and he never will. Not today and not 100 years from now.”

“He should be known by only one official title from this day to the day he dies: inmate,” Lt-Col Morse said as he completed his closing speech.

Bales’ defence suggested they expected the soldier to spend the rest of his life in jail.

“We’re not here to decide whether he walks out of this court room into the sunshine having not been punished for what happened. He’s going to be confined for life,” Emma Scanlin said.

“What we’re asking is simply that years from now, if ever, if ever, if he has done what someone else deems to be necessary for him someday to walk outside that that decision can be made down the road, that’s all.”

Bales pleaded guilty in June to killing the villagers in a deal brokered by his defence team to avoid the death penalty.

The sentencing hearing must decide whether Bales will be allowed to seek parole after a minimum of 20 years behind bars or spend the rest of his life in prison. [AFP]