Afghan slayings trial set for September

SEATTLE — 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.

“It’s a very unrealistic trial date for us,” Browne said.

Bales faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder. He slipped away from his base in southern Afghanistan early March 11 to attack two nearby villages and returned covered in blood, prosecutors say. Most of the victims were women and children.

The Army is seeking the death penalty. Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, a spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, where Bales was based and where he is being held, said he could not immediately confirm the trial date.

Browne said the judge has scheduled questioning of potential jurors to begin Aug. 19, and dates for pre-trial motions to be filed and argued April 23-26 and June 4-7.

Browne and co-counsel Emma Scanlan have each traveled to Afghanistan to investigate the case, but Browne insists another trip by at least one member of the defense team would be necessary before the trial.

One hurdle to that is financial, he said. He has repeatedly noted that his firm is working for Bales for free — Bales also has appointed military defense counsel.

If Browne can’t raise the money for another trip to Afghanistan, he said, his firm might have to withdraw from the case — which, he noted, could set the trial back more than a year.

———

Associated Press Rachel La Corte contributed from Olympia.

More in Local News

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Teen charged with murder in shooting over car

A Lynnwood teen has been charged with second-degree murder for… Continue reading

Work begins on Everett housing for homeless, mentally ill

The complex on Berkshire Drive will have 65 apartments and is expected to be complete next year.

Police looking for Lynnwood bank robber

The robber did not flash a weapon to the teller at a U.S. Bank.

Here’s how much property taxes will rise to pay for schools

The owner of a $350,000 home is looking at a property-tax hike of nearly $300 this year.

Everett man accused of causing his baby’s brain damage

He told police he shook his son to get him to stop crying, and the boy slipped out of his hands.

At one point she dropped out; now she’s graduation-bound

Anita Bradford-Diaz has had her share of setbacks, but they only seem to increase her motivation.

Employee threats caused lockdown at Arlington elementary

Arlington Police said all students and staff were.

Residents are helping turn Casino Road in a new direction

An initiative backed by a $700,000 grant goes to the community for solutions to the area’s challenges.

Most Read