JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington - A jury of six soldiers has been selected to determine whether the U.S. soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians during raids on two villages last year will ever have a chance at getting out of prison.
On Tuesday, prosecutors started laying out their case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for jurors.
The first of nine Afghan villagers took the witness stand Tuesday. Haji Mohammad Naim appeared in the courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle. Speaking through an interpreter, he promptly referred to the gunman, Bales, as a "bastard."
Naim said he has lingering numbness in his hand and a stutter since he was shot in the neck from just a few feet away.
Bales pleaded guilty in June to avoid the death penalty for killing 16 civilians and wounding six others, mostly women and children. The six jurors must decide whether he is sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole or without it.