U.S. soldier behind Afghan massacre apologizes for "act of cowardice"
Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 01:04
Aug. 22 - Speaking in a military courtroom, Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who admitted to killing 16 unarmed Afghan civilian in March in 2012, offers an apology for what he calls ''an act of cowardice.'' Sarah Irwin reports.
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A U.S. soldier who killed 16 unarmed Afghan civilians in March of 2012 - offers an apology for what he calls "an act of cowardice."
Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales told a jury in a Washington state military courtroom, quote:
"I am truly, truly sorry to all the people whose family members I have taken away. I have murdered their families."
"What I did is an act of cowardice."
Bales - a veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan - admitted to shooting the villagers - who were mostly women and children - in attacks on their family compounds in Kandahar province.
He pleaded guilty to the murders in June - in a deal that spared him the death penalty.
A jury of six military personnel will decide his sentence - and whether he spends the rest of his life in prison - or could be eligible for parole after 20 years.
The defense has argued Bales suffered a breakdown under the pressures of deployment while the prosecution has contended he acted alone and with premeditation.
Closing arguments are expected on Friday.
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