Army Says Bales Should Face Death Penalty for ‘Despicable’ Crimes; Defense Disagrees - KansasCity.com
An eight-day hearing for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales wrapped up Tuesday with an Army prosecutor saying Bales should face the death penalty for committing “the worst, most despicable crimes a human being can commit, murdering children in their own homes.”
Maj. Rob Stelle’s argument concluded a preliminary hearing in which the Army laid out eyewitness testimony, surveillance video and DNA evidence connecting Bales, 39, to the slaughter of 16 civilians, including nine children, in southern Afghanistan.
But Bales’ attorney and family urged caution by the officers responsible for deciding whether the Joint Base Lewis-McChord combat veteran should advance to a full court-martial that could put him on death row.
“As a family, we all grieve deeply for the Afghani families who lost their loved ones on March 11, but we must not rush to judgment,” Bales’ sister-in-law Stephanie Tandberg said outside the Lewis-McChord court building after the hearing. She stood next to Kari Bales, the defendant’s wife.
Last spring’s massacre amounts to the worst alleged war crimes of the 11-year conflict in Afghanistan. It took on a human face over the past week as the Army called on four children Bales allegedly wounded to testify against him through a video link from Kandahar province.