Hearing Begins for Soldier Accused in Afghan Massacre
Robert Bales appeared in court today
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2012 12:51 PM CST
In this Aug. 23, 2011, file photo, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System photo, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.   (AP Photo/DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File)

(Newser) Robert Bales, the US soldier accused of slipping away from his outpost and slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians in March, made his first appearance in a military courtroom today for the beginning of his preliminary hearing, after which an investigative officer will recommend whether the case should proceed to a court-martial. "This hearing is important for all of us in terms of learning what the government can actually prove," said his attorney.

Asked if he understood his rights, Bales responded, "Sir, yes, sir," the AP reports. His lawyers have said he does not remember anything from the time of the attacks, in which nine children died, and have also noted that a traumatic incident during an earlier tour in Iraq caused him to suffer from "tremendous depression." Video testimony from as many as 15 Afghan witnesses will be included in the hearing, but Bales himself will not make a statement. In addition to 16 counts of premeditated murder, he faces charges of attempted murder, assault, and steroid use.

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Nov 5, 2012 3:32 PM CST
Fucking POS !!!!! A disgrace to Vets like myself who served Honorably! Hand him over and have his family watch him being Beheaded!
Nov 5, 2012 2:16 PM CST
LOL, "PREMEDITATED MURDER"... 'premeditated murder' is exactly what we send troops to Afghanistan to do, so...what's the problem? This is a joke, right? Charging Bales with 'murder' is like charging the US government with 'genocide'... he/they are merely fulfilling their intended purpose , so what's the problem???
Nov 5, 2012 1:39 PM CST
LWOP (Life without parole) This dude is a mass murderer. In fact, we should give him to the Afghans and let them deal with him. He killed their people. They should get their justice. Sick animal in a uniform.