SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

August 24, 2013

Villagers unsatisfied by life sentence for Bales

(Continued)

“My count is 20,” Bales told another soldier when he returned to the base.

Morse displayed a photograph of a girl’s bloodied corpse and described how Bales executed her where she should have felt safest — beside her father, who was also slain.

Morse also played a surveillance video of Bales returning to the base after the killings, marching with “the methodical, confident gait of a man who’s accomplished his mission.”

Bales, an Ohio native who lived in Lake Tapps, Wash., was under personal, financial and professional stress at the time. He had stopped paying the mortgage on one of his houses, was concerned about his wife’s spending and hadn’t received a promotion he wanted.

“Sgt. Bales commits these barbaric acts because he takes stock of his life,” Morse said. “Sgt. Bales thinks the rest of the world is not giving him what he deserves.”

The closing arguments came a day after Bales apologized for the attack, saying he’d bring back the victims “in a heartbeat” if he could.

“I’m truly, truly sorry to those people whose families got taken away,” he said in a mostly steady voice during questions from one of his lawyers. “I can’t comprehend their loss. I think about it every time I look at my kids.”

He said he hoped his words would be translated for the villagers — none of whom elected to be in court to hear him.

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