Only One Man Was Found Guilty for His Role in the My Lai MassacreBreaking News
tags: Vietnam War, My Lai Massacre, William Laws Calley Jr
It was 50 years ago — on March 16, 1968 — that a group of American troops killed hundreds of civilians at the hamlet of My Lai, in what would become one of the most infamous atrocities of the Vietnam War. Months passed before the news of that event began to spread, and it would be years before anyone involved would face possible punishment. Though several of the men involved faced courts-martial, only one—1st Lieut. William Laws Calley Jr.—was ever convicted. He was found guilty in 1971 of murder and sentenced to life. (President Nixon changed Calley’s sentence to house arrest, and he served about three years. He apologized in 2009.)
As the trial dominated the national conversation, TIME Correspondent Peter Ross Range was dispatched to get to know the man behind the headlines. As TIME noted in 1971, he was the only reporter to speak to Calley after the conviction. The lieutenant’s last words to him, the magazine reported, were, “Take care, Pete.” Now, a half-century after the massacre, Range recalls what it was like to have an inside view of the case.
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