(JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.) — Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will have no chance at parole as he spends the rest of his life in prison for the murder of 16 Afghan civilians last year, a jury decided Friday.
Bales was sentenced to life in prison without release by a jury at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Fort Lewis, Wash., the Los Angeles Times reported.
Bales, 40, pleaded guilty to the murders in June and confessed to the crimes in order to avoid the death penalty.
Defense lawyers tried to depict Bales as a loving father affected by post-traumatic stress disorder after multiple tours in Afghanistan, and a traumatic head injury. The soldier’s brother, and an old friend, former pro footballer Marc Edwards, testified on his behalf.
“There’s no better father that I’ve seen,” William Bales, 55, said of his younger brother. “If you brought the kids in here today, they’d run right to him.”
Bales has never denied leaving Camp Belambay in Kandahar province and walking by himself to two neighboring villages where he fired on locals with a 9mm pistol and an M4 rifle.
When the judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, asked Bales why he carried out the rampage, Bales said: “I’ve asked that question a million times, and there is not a good reason in the world for the horrible things I did.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Madison Park, CNN
Steve Visser, CNN