Prosecution Cites Revenge as Motive for Afghan Massacre


McLaughlin said Bales then told him he was going to the other village. Not understanding why Bales was in his room, he remembered Bales grabbing his hand and saying, "take care of my kids!" McLaughlin then fell back asleep only to learn hours later that Bales had gone missing and that shots had been fired.

When Bales returned to the outpost Godwin was one of the soldiers who ordered him to put down his weapons including an M-4 rifle, a grenade launcher and a 40 millimeter grenade belt.

Godwin and McLaughlin recalled Bales yelling, "Mac, did you rat me out, did you rat me out?!"

Godwin said in addition to the t-shirt and camouflaged pants Bales was wearing, he had a blue sheet tied like a cape around his neck. And he was fully covered in blood, Blackshear testified he had "never seen anyone with that amount of blood on them" in all his years of combat.

According to Godwin, "he said something like I thought 'I was doing the right thing' as we were taking his stuff away and he had his hands on his head." He added Bales seemed "very coherent" and looked like "he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar."

Blackshear recalled Bales having said that "he was sorry a couple of times."

When McLaughlin saw Bales later in a holding area where "he said his count was 20," referring to the number of victims, and that "it's bad, it's really bad."

"I didn't want to believe it, " said McLaughlin. "I just kind of stepped back."

The Article 32 hearing is expected to last two weeks and some survivors of the attack will testify via a live satellite feed from Afghanistan.

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