Jury Sentences Bales to Life in Prison Without Parole - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Jury Sentences Bales to Life in Prison Without Parole

Posted: Updated:

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Jurors have sentenced a man to life in prison without the possibility of being released for the murders of 16 Afghan civilians. 

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty back in June, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. 

Bales testified on Thursday, apologizing to his victims and fellow troops, saying the killings were an "act of cowardice" and that he would bring back his victims "in a heartbeat" if he could. 

Army prosecutors said Bales was a man of no moral compass, whose own "stomach churning" words proved he knew what he was doing when he set out to attack two villages before dawn on March 11, 2012.

The defense suggested that a decade of seeing other soldiers killed left Bales in a darkness that "swallowed him whole."

Bales, a father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., was serving his fourth combat deployment when he left his outpost at Camp Belambay, in Kandahar province, in the middle of the night to attack two villages.