Afghan villagers may testify at Bales sentencing hearing

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robert-bales1JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD — The sentencing phase began Monday for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who massacred 16 Afghan civilians in their villages last year.

The prosecution said several Afghan villagers will be flown into JBLM to possibly testify during Bales’ sentencing hearing or appear via video conference.

In June, Bales pleaded guilty to 30 charges. His plea deal took the possibility of the death penalty off the table. Now, it will be decided whether Bales will serve a life sentence or be eligible for parole.

One of the motions entered in court Monday was that Bales not be considered for parole until after he had served at least 20 years in prison.

In March 2012, Bales left his combat outpost twice and went on a shooting rampage that resulted in the death of 16 civilians, including many women and children.

Last week, Bales’ defense team tried to get the prosecution removed from the case. The defense argued that the prosecution obtained a copy of an unredacted mental health evaluation of Bales that was performed shortly after the shootings. The defense said the prosecution would have an unfair advantage in the final phase of the case, but the judge denied the motion.

Bales is a member of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He was deployed on his fourth combat mission at the time of the murders.

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  • libra

    The judge's decision not to remove the prosecution from the team for seeing non redacted mental health evals will either give him room for appeal, or give him the opportunity for his defense team to request that the evaluation in question CANNOT be used against him. Just because its military doesn't mean they don't have to follow the rules.