Bales’ sentencing hearing enters second day

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD — It’s now day two of the sentencing phase for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who massacred 16 Afghan civilians in their villages last year.

This week, the prosecution might play a two hour taped conversation between Bales and his wife, the News Tribune reports. The prosecution alleges the couple can be heard laughing over at least one of the criminal charges against Bales. On top of that, the prosecution says they have another taped conversation where the couple discusses a possible book deal for Bales wife.

The defense argues the tape needs to be heard in court to put the conversation in context.

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

robert bales1In 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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