SEATTLE – A U.S. soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians is expected to undergo a court-ordered review of his sanity beginning this weekend after the military judge overseeing the case agreed that the results would not automatically be shared with prosecutors, his lawyers said Wednesday.
The review of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales by Army doctors will start Sunday and could last three to seven days, said attorney John Henry Browne. Such reviews are aimed at discerning a defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime and competency to stand trial.
The Ohio native and father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., is accused of murdering Afghan villagers, mostly women and children, during pre-dawn raids on March 11, 2011. Bales, who was on his fourth combat deployment, slipped away from his base in southern Afghanistan to attack two nearby villages and returned soaked in blood, prosecutors say.
He has not entered a plea. The Army is seeking the death penalty.