Government Prosecutors Want Speedy Trial for Soldier Accused in Massacre
Army prosecutors asked a military Judge for a June trial date for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. Bales is accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians and wounding six others while stationed at a Special Forces outpost in Kandahar Province. The defense called that unrealistic.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales arraignment in a military court room south of Tacoma marked the start of a Court-Marital that could potentially end in a death sentence. That possibility coupled with the sheer volume of documents in the case was the basis for the defense team’s suggestion that the case be tried in May 2014.
Prosecutors however argue that waiting too long jeopardizes the government’s right to a fair trial…that American troop withdrawal will make it harder to get witnesses from Afghanistan to the US. They also note that two witnesses living in volatile parts of the country have already been killed in separate attacks.
Speaking with reporters outside the court room Bales Attorney John Henry Brown took issue with that approach. “You heard the prosecution talking about two witnesses being killed. Well guess who killed them? The United States. They were both on a list of insurgents and they were both killed by the United States. “
The judge in the case did not immediately decide on a trial date. He did however rule that if Bales defense team plans to present a mental health defense he must go before a so called sanity review board to determine his mental state. Bales deferred to enter a plea. He’s not required to under military court rules.
Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network