NPR : News

U.S. Soldier Sentenced To Life In Afghan Village Attacks

A military jury has sentenced Robert Bales, the U.S. Army staff sergeant who admitted to killing 16 Afghan civilians in 2012, to life in prison without parole. During the punishment hearings held this week, Bales was confronted by family members of victims and people who survived the attacks of March 11, 2012.

Bales, a father of two who is based in Washington state, pleaded guilty to the charges in June in order to avoid a possible death sentence in the case.

His sentence was handed down Friday by a six-member military jury assembled at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Wash.

The killings took place during two predawn visits Bales made to villages in Kandahar province last spring. Armed with an M-4 rifle and a 9 mm pistol, Bales shot children and parents, brothers and sisters during his rampage; 11 members of one family died that night. Some were killed as they slept, the AP reports.

This week, Bales' defense attorneys said he was under extreme stress and had suffered trauma during his four combat deployments. Thursday, he apologized for his actions.

"I'm truly, truly sorry to those people whose families got taken away," he said, according to local KIRO TV. "I can't comprehend their loss. I think about it every time I look at my kids."

He also apologized to his former Army colleagues.

"Nothing makes it right," he said. "So many times before I've asked myself. I don't know why. Sorry just isn't good enough. I'm sorry."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


Writing The Wicked Ways Of The 'Worst. Person. Ever.'

Raymond Gunt is profane, rude, heartless and truly the Worst. Person. Ever. Author Douglas Coupland says he's not exactly sure how the character, with no redeeming qualities, came into his mind.

Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone?

The giant retailer says it's adding a new line of organic food that's at least 25 percent cheaper. But a large-scale production and supply of organic food likely can't be achieved overnight.

Obama Adds Malaysia To His Asia Itinerary

Obama travels to Malaysia next week, where the government is under fire for the handling of a missing airliner. NPR's Wade Goodwyn talks to Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.