Washington, D.C. -
Legal experts studying the Robert Bales case in which the Staff Sgt. is alleged to have killed 16 Afghan civilians say that he is unlikely to get the death penalty if convicted.
From a historical perspective, the U.S. is slow to convict Americans on War Crimes, and often hands down lesser sentences said. In fact of the long list of war crimes alleged to have been committed by U.S. Service members, only about 30% are ever even convicted, well below the national conviction rate for crimes in the U.S. of about 85%.
Experts say he his attorney is likely to argue Bales had diminished capacity, having been deployed four times to war zones and has a documented head injury, and the belief he also suffers from PTSD.
His attorney has said this is more a case about the war itself than it is about the crime, and proving a case has its difficulties because U.S. officials have not even had access to all of the victim's bodies to affirmatively state they are in fact victims of Bales or died from other caused of death, and all witnesses are in Afghanistan. Bringing witnesses here is fraught with its own legal and political challenges, some of which are known Taliban supporters.
According to his attorney, Bale's claims to have no memory of the incident.
Bales is alleged to have left his Army base overnight and walked up to a mile to a local village and began shooting and burning his victims.