(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need to know about Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who will serve life in prison without parole for the murders of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.
About Staff Sgt. Robert Bales: Bales will serve life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to more than 30 criminal charges, including 16 counts of premeditated murder as well as illicit steroid and alcohol use.
He was assigned to the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington.
The unit was deployed in support of Special Forces troops in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Bales served three tours of duty in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan.
Timeline: March 11, 2012 - At approximately 3 am, an Afghan soldier at Camp Belambay spots a U.S. soldier leaving the base, and notifies U.S. commanders. The commanders immediately order a head count. It is confirmed that a soldier is missing and a search party is assembled.
March 11, 2012 - A U.S. Army sergeant goes on a house to house shooting spree in two villages in Kandahar province, killing 16 people. Eleven of the victims belong to the same family. Witnesses claim that the soldier dragged some bodies outside and set them on fire.
March 11, 2012 - The U.S. Army sergeant returns to Camp Belambay and turns himself in.
March 12, 2012 - The Afghan parliament demands a public trial for the suspect, but U.S. officials say they will handle the prosecution themselves.
March 13, 2012 - A protest in Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan, draws hundreds of people, with demonstrators blocking the highway to Kabul.
March 13, 2012 - The Taliban releases a statement that they will retaliate "by killing and beheading Americans anywhere in the country."
March 13, 2012 - President Barack Obama says that American officials are "heartbroken" by the deaths but have no plans to change course in the war in Afghanistan.
March 14, 2012 - The U.S. soldier accused in the shooting spree is transferred from Afghanistan to Kuwait.
March 15, 2012 - Hundreds of Afghan protesters take to the streets to demand that the U.S. soldier accused of the shooting be prosecuted in Afghanistan.
March 15, 2012 - Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne says he will be representing the accused soldier. During his career, Browne has worked several high-profile cases, including Ted Bundy and the Barefoot Bandit.
March 16, 2012 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks to the families of 16 civilians killed. In his meeting, Karzai raises questions over the account of events given by U.S. authorities.
March 16, 2012 - The suspect is identified as Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Bales arrives at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is held in solitary, pre-trial confinement at the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility.
March 19, 2012 - Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne, tells the media that Bales has no memory of the events of March 11, 2012.
March 22, 2012 - CNN reports that Bales engaged in fraud during his career as a financial adviser. Before joining the military, Bales was accused of multiple instances of securities fraud. This includes a May 2000 complaint alleging Bales bilked over $600,000 from Gary Liebschner's retirement fund, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
March 23, 2012 - Staff Sergeant Bales is formally charged with 17 counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder. U.S. and Afghan officials initially said 16 people died in those attacks. The counts indicate that one more person died, though Afghan government officials in Kabul have no record of another death.
March 25, 2012 - Afghan officials announce the victims' families were given money by the U.S. government, $50,000 for each of the 16 people who were killed, as well as $10,000 for each of the six who was injured. The United States calls the money help to the families, NATO calls it compensation.
March 29, 2012 - A U.S. official says that U.S. personnel have not been able to collect DNA from the crime scene or access the areas, although DNA had been found on the clothing of Bales.
March 29, 2012 - According to a U.S. official, Bales, during about 30 minutes when he was on the base, returned to his accommodation and woke at least one roommate, another U.S. Army soldier. "The exact conversation is unclear," the official said, but Bales claimed he had been killing Afghan civilians off the base, which his roommate dismissed as nonsense.
June 1, 2012 - In amended charges, U.S. military authorities accuse Bales of illicit steroid and alcohol use in addition to 16 counts of premeditated murder.
November 5, 2012 - Bales' Article 32 hearing begins at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
December 19, 2012 - The U.S. military releases a statement saying Bales will face a court-martial and could be given the death penalty if found guilty.
May 29, 2013 - Bales' attorney John Henry Browne says that his client intends to plead guilty to the killings in exchange for elimination of the death penalty as a possible punishment.
June 5, 2013 - Bales pleads guilty to more than 30 criminal charges, including 16 premeditated murder counts, in a hearing before a military judge. The move spares him a possible death sentence.
August 23, 2013 - A military jury decides Bales will get life in prison without parole for killing 16 Afghan villagers.