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BALES TRIAL: First Day of Army Staff Sergeant's Hearing Contains Chilling Testimony

The Lake Tapps man and Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier is accused of going on a nighttime killing spree March 11 in Afghanistan.

“My count is 20.”

That is what Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales told a fellow soldier hours after he allegedly carried out a killing spree covering two Afghan villages on March 11, according to a military prosecutor who spoke during a pre-trial hearing Monday.

Bales, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, chillingly and methodically shot, killed and, in one case burned, entire civilian households, Lt. Col. Jospeh Morse told the military judge today.

Morse described how Bales – who sat in the court room in a camouflage uniform and sporting a shaved head - allegedly left his base, most likely out a southern gate and under the eye of an Afghan guard, and walked 600 meters north.

After the shootings and killings, he walked back to his base, his body caught on surveillance footage that was played for the court. He left base and came back again later that morning, Morse said.

When questioned by an Afghan guard, Bales, whose clothes were covered in blood from his victims, greeted him in the guard's native language.

Translated: “Hello.”

He did this again, the second time allegedly shooting his victims in the head and burning their bodies. The second time, when confronted outside of his base, Bales dropped his gun and was apprehended.

Bales appeared for his pre-trial hearing today. He faces numerous charges in the Article 32 hearing, including 16 specifications of premeditated murder.

Patch Editor Brent Champaco is attending the trial and will be providing updates via the comment section below.

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Brent Champaco November 05, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Hi Gina. Thanks for sharing. SSgt. Bales hasn't really said much all day. He seems intent listening to the testimony. I can't see his wife, as we're not in the courtroom but we are watching a live feed from another room.
Brent Champaco November 05, 2012 at 09:37 PM
After break, Sgt. First Class Clayton Blackshear - the other person who spoke to Bales hours before he allegedly carried out the shooting - is on the stand.
Gina Cloum November 06, 2012 at 12:40 AM
We are following your comments through tonight and are so grateful. Can we expect your comments Tuesday? I assume they begin @ 0900? Again your comments are so appreciated to those who are here, thank you.Florida
Gina Cloum November 06, 2012 at 12:46 AM
We are sick, for Robert and his loved ones. As a mother of two Iraq vets I would personally ask for mercy for Robert Bales. As a registered nurse, I would ask if they can not reason to see this man had reached his breaking point and that is not worthy of death.It seems so black and white; he snapped, it happens and by the grace of God there go my two sons.Gina Cloum
mike hunt November 06, 2012 at 01:45 AM
He murdered 11 unarmed people! Yea somebody needs to pray for him alright.

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