Prosecutors want death penalty for Afghan massacre soldier
Military prosecutors told a Washington state hearing that Sgt. Robert Bales must face the death penalty for his “heinous, brutal and methodical” crime.
Bales, 39, is accused of slipping away from his base at Camp Belambay in southern Afghanistan to attack two villages in March. 16 civilians, including nine children were killed. Several soldiers, testifying at Bales’ ongoing preliminary hearing, said he returned to their base covered in blood.
“Terrible, terrible things happened,” said prosecutor Major Rob Stelle, who argued that Bales’ statements when apprehended showed the soldier to have “a clear memory of what he had done, and consciousness of wrong-doing.”
The recommendations made from this preliminary hearing will be used to determine whether Bales will face court martial. In recent days, the hearing has convened at night to hear testimony from Afghan witnesses via videolink. As Reuters reported, the wife of an Afghan villager killed in the rampage said that more than one U.S. soldier was present when her husband was killed.