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SSG Bales Charged With Murder, Attempted Murder

Austin Jenkins


The case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will likely move to Joint Base Lewis-McChord . The 38-year old Washington-based soldier was charged with 17 counts of aggravated murder and other crimes.

Bales is accused of massacring Afghan villagers earlier this month. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

The announcement of charges came out of Afghanistan. But officials at Lewis-McChord have taken over the case. The next phase is a formal pre-trial hearing called an Article 32.

Army prosecutors have charged Bales with murdering eight adults and nine children as well as shooting, but not killing four other children and two adults.

Major Christopher Ophardt at Lewis-McChord says it’s unclear at this point whether the pre-trial hearing will happen in Washington or at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. That’s where Bales is currently being held.

Ophardt acknowledged prosecutors at Lewis-McChord recently sent four Washington-based soldiers to prison for killing Afghan civilians in 2010.

“Since we have some experience with that unfortunately we know the process and how to work through it,” Ophardt says.

Bales’ attorneys say they want the case moved to Lewis-McChord. Meanwhile, Major Ophardt also clarified that Bales’ wife and children are not under Army protective custody. He says the family exercised a right any Army family has to move onto base.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network