In the news...

August 26, 2013

Bales sentenced to life in prison, no chance of parole

Gene Johnson
Associated Press

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. ñ A military jury Aug. 23 sentenced a U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year to life in prison without a chance of parole.

The decision came in the case of SSgt. Robert Bales, 40, who pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Bales did not recount specifics of the horrors in court when he testified Thursday or offer an explanation for the violence, but he described the killings as an “act of cowardice, behind a mask of fear, bulls – and bravado.”

“I’m truly, truly sorry to those people whose families got taken away,” he said in a mostly steady voice during questions from one of his lawyers. “I can’t comprehend their loss. I think about it every time I look at my kids.”

Bales said he hoped his words would be translated for the nine villagers who traveled from Afghanistan to testify against him ó none of whom elected to be in court to hear from him.

His statements were not made under oath, which prevented prosecutors from cross-examining him.

Bales, a father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., was serving his fourth combat deployment when he left his outpost at Camp Belambay, in Kandahar province, in the middle of the night to attack two villages.

The nine Afghans ó some angry and at least one cursing Bales ó testified over two days about their lives since the attacks. Haji Mohammad Wazir said he lost 11 relatives, including his mother, wife and six of his seven children.

“If someone loses one child, you can imagine how devastated their life would be,” Wazir said. “If anybody speaks to me about the incident … I feel the same, like it’s happening right now.”

Attorneys for Bales made much of Bales’ repeated deployments and suggested that post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury may have played a role in the killings. But they offered no testimony from psychiatrists or other doctors, saying they saw little point in making the case a battle of the experts.

Instead, they had Bales and some of his fellow soldiers testify about the difficulties they endured and the images that stuck with them after earlier tours in Iraq. They rested their defense after Bales finished speaking.

In his closing argument, the prosecutor, Lt. Col. Jay Morse, displayed photos of a young girl who was executed as she screamed and cried, as well as surveillance video of Bales returning to the base with what Morse called “the methodical, confident gait of a man who’s accomplished his mission.”

While questioning other witnesses, prosecutors noted Bales’ checkered past, including a fraud investigation and eventual $1.5 million judgment, a drunken-driving arrest in 2005, a driving under the influence crash in 2008, and lies on re-enlistment documents about his criminal history.

Bales’ lawyers did their best to paint a sympathetic picture of a patriotic man who was an ideal father and had been his senior class president and quarterback of the high school football team in Norwood, Ohio.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 1, 2014

Veterans: Substantial VA staff will face discipline - A substantial number of VA employees will face punishment for the veterans treatment scandal, the new national commander of the American Legion predicted Sept. 30, indicating that the slow pace of discipline has more to do with the hoops the department must jump through than it does a...
 
 

News Briefs October 1, 2014

Egypt president gives army control of arms imports The Egyptian president has amended a law, giving the country’s army control over weapons and ammunition imports. The Sept. 30 statement from the presidency says Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi changed articles stipulating that a permit for weapons’ imports has to be granted by the Interior Ministry, which is in...
 
 

Headlines September 29, 2014

News: U.S. military limits warplanes used for Islamic State bombings - The U.S. is relying mostly on warplanes already positioned in the region for its air war against the Islamic State, as opposed to dispatching a major buildup of aerial forces that happened in previous campaigns.   Business: At DOD, it’s use-it-or-lose-it season - As fiscal 2014...
 

 

News Briefs September 29, 2014

Navy awards ship design grant to UNO The University of New Orleans has received a $210,000 grant from the Navy s Office of Naval Research to test information gathering and analysis techniques intended to improve warship design. The goal for warship designers is to produce a vessel that can be repurposed numerous times throughout its...
 
 

Headlines September 26, 2014

News: F-35 jet combat ready next year, new Israeli order close - The first version of the F-35 fighter jet will be combat ready by mid-2015, despite an engine failure which still needs a fix, and Israel could sign a deal within months to buy more of the aircraft, program officials said Sept. 25.   Business:...
 
 

News Briefs September 26, 2014

Navy suspends most nuclear work at Virginia shipyard Two safety violations by civilian workers have prompted the Navy to suspend most nuclear work at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The suspension of work on Sept. 13 affects the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the submarines USS Maryland and USS Albany, The Virginian-Pilot reported. On...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>