Jury: Life In Prison For Afghanistan Massacre A military jury has sentenced a U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year to life in prison without a chance of parole. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who pleaded guilty in June.
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From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson. It's HERE AND NOW. In a moment, Robin will have a look at differences in parenting around the world, but first, two major military court decisions today. In Fort Hood, Texas, Major Nidal Hasan was convicted and could face the death penalty. He's the Army psychologist accused of a shooting rampage that left 13 dead. Meanwhile, another court decision just in from Washington state, a military judge - a military jury rather has sentenced Staff Sergeant Robert Bales to life in prison without a chance of parole.

Bales pled guilty in June to killing six Afghan civilians, most of them women and children. NPR's Martin Kaste is at the courthouse and joins us now. And, Martin, first, for people who didn't follow this case closely, remind us of the facts.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Well, this is the sentencing for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. He's the U.S. soldier who has pleaded guilty to massacring 16 civilians in two small villages in Kandahar province last March of 2012. He pleaded guilty in June. This was the sentencing. What was at stake here was whether or nor his sentence would be a life with the possibility of parole or life without. And we've just found out the jury has decided it will be life without any possibility of parole.

HOBSON: And during the trial, a lot of emotional testimony. Afghan villagers were brought in to testify. How did people react to what we've found out today?

KASTE: Yeah. The Afghan witnesses were still here, and they were sitting there in the pews, in the spectators' area of the courtroom to watch this final verdict. They seemed satisfied. There were no real outward expressions, but their translator flashed them the thumbs-up sign so they could understand what just had happened. And on the other side of that same gallery, Robert Bales' family looked pretty ashen. His elderly mother was sitting in the front pew there, rocking and weeping, hiding her face, and it was a very, very difficult on that side of the room.

HOBSON: And he had said I'm truly, truly sorry that those people whose families got taken away, so some remorse from him.

KASTE: Remorse. But it certainly wasn't enough for this jury. No point here was his defense team trying to make the case that he was not responsible for what happened. And they kept emphasizing how sorry he was, how he wished he could take it back, how he can't even comprehend the pain of these Afghan families having lost so many children, especially. But really, what it came down to was whether or not there was a sense among this jury that anything short of a guaranteed life sentence would be justice.

HOBSON: NPR's Martin Kaste joining us from right outside the courthouse in Washington state. Martin, thanks.

KASTE: You're welcome.

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