US Soldier Gets Life Without Parole in Massacre
Robert Bales killed 16 Afghan villagers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 23, 2013 1:30 PM CDT
File photo of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.   (Spc. Ryan Hallock)

(Newser) – The second of two high-profile military trials is in the books: A military jury has sentenced a US soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year to life in prison without a chance of parole. The decision came today in the case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty for one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Bales took the witness stand yesterday and apologized for the pre-dawn attack in March 2012, describing it as an act of cowardice.

Bales, a father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington, 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. When he made the plea deal, Bales said he had no "good reason" to explain his actions. Earlier today, former Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was found guilty on all counts in the Fort Hood shooting spree of 2009.