Staff Sgt. Robert Bales

Peter Millet / Associated Press

The U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year in one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was sentenced Friday to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 40, who pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty, showed no emotion as the verdict was announced at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

Peter Millet / Associated Press

The U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan villagers apologized for his "act of cowardice" as he made his case for why he should one day have a shot at freedom.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales said Thursday that he was operating "behind a mask of fear ... and bravado" when he went on a solo nighttime mission and slaughtered villagers in mud-walled huts.

Peter Millet / Associated Press

An older brother of the U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year is telling a military jury about what his sibling was like as a youth.

Bill Bales says Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was an outgoing youngster who served as his high school class president and captain of the football team in Norwood, Ohio, where they grew up.

DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File/AP Photo

An Afghan father broke down in a courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and tried to leave the witness stand.

The emotional outburst Tuesday came during the sentencing hearing for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty to murdering 16 Afghan villagers in March of last year.

DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File/AP Photo

Jury selection is underway in the sentencing of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians during raids on two villages last year.

Bales pleaded guilty in June to premeditated murder and other charges in a deal to avoid the death penalty. This week's sentencing will determine whether he is sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, or without it.

DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File/AP photo

Army prosecutors said Monday they have a recording of a phone call in which Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and his wife laugh as they review the charges filed against him in the killing of 16 Afghan villagers.

Bales, an Ohio native and father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty for killing the civilians, mostly women and children, on March 11, 2012.

AP Photo/DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock

A military judge says a team of Army prosecutors can remain on the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for his sentencing next week, even after they read documents they weren't supposed to.

Bales pleaded guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids last year.

Lawyers for the American soldier convicted of slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids last year want the entire prosecution team removed from the case before his sentencing, which is scheduled for this month.

U.S. Disciplinary Barracks

The Army has announced it will seek the death penalty against Joint Base Lewis McChord soldier Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

Currently, there are 8 men awaiting execution on military death row in Leavenworth, Kansas. Some have been there for decades.

Washington District Court Judge Jack Nevin, of Tacoma, is a retired Brigadier General who was Chief Judge of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He also teaches a class on military law at Seattle University Law School.

KPLU Law and Justice Reporter Paula Wissel interviewed Nevin about the differences between  military and civilian death penalty cases.

(Click on listen button above to hear the radio interview.)