A military judge has scheduled a Sept. 3 court martial for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers during nighttime raids last year, his lawyer said Thursday. Civilian attorney John Henry Browne told The Associated Press that the date is too soon to give the defense team time to prepare, and they will ask the judge to reconsider. Browne had sought a trial in mid-2014.
The U.S. Army wants to bar Staff Sgt. Robert Bales from using any sort of mental health defense to charges that he slaughtered 16 Afghan villagers last year because he has refused to take part in an official review of his sanity, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
A U.S. Army DNA expert testified Thursday that the soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians during a nighttime rampage last March had the blood of at least four people on his clothes and guns when he surrendered.
A caped figure captured on surveillance video came running out of the darkness to the edge of a remote Army outpost in southern Afghanistan. Blood was smeared on his face, prosecutors said, and soaked into his clothes. Less than a mile away, 16 Afghans, including nine children, were dead, some of their bodies on fire in two villages.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is appearing in a military courtroom for the first time on charges that he slaughtered 16 Afghan villagers during a predawn rampage last March.