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Day 2 of Bales’ sentencing hearing

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bales1JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD — Dramatic testimony from witnesses in the trial for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is expected Wednesday as more Afghan victims taking the stand.

On Tuesday, Haiji Naim, an elder in one of the two small villages Bales attacked, testified that several members of his family were shot by Bales in March 2012. Bales pleaded guilty in June to murdering 16 Afghan civilians, including woman and children.

Naim flew several thousand miles to appear in person in court and described how he was shot in the face by Bales. “This bastard stood right in front of me,” Naim said. “I wanted to ask him, what did I do?  And he shot me.”

Prosecutor Lt. Col. Jay Morse told jurors that Bales, “went into the village with the intention of murdering any Afghan he saw, regardless of age or gender.”

One of the victims, a 12-year old boy, Sadiquallh, testified in court.  He told jurors, “I think I fainted because when I woke up I heard screaming.”

Prior to the witness testimony, the prosecution explained in detail what led Bales to take the lives of so many civilians. They painted a picture of a soldier frustrated with his life at home, upset at being passed over for promotion and in dire financial straits. Prosecutors said the night of the attacks, Bales was drinking heavily and was taking steroids, telling a superior he had “bad kids, an ugly wife and was not anxious to make it back home to see them.”

The jury also heard a recording of Bales talking to his wife on the phone and it sounded like the two were joking about the murder case against him.

The defense said Bales suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Bales was on his fourth combat deployment when he committed the murders. With his guilty plea, Bales will not get the death penalty but faces life in prison. His defense team is fighting for Bales to be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 20 years.

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