JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD (AP) — The U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in March was transferred Monday to an Army base in Washington state, where he faces a pretrial hearing Nov. 5.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales arrived late Monday afternoon at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and was being held in pretrial confinement, Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield confirmed. Bales was transferred from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Bales faces 16 counts of premeditated murder; six counts of attempted murder; seven counts of assault; and one count each of possessing steroids, using steroids, destroying a laptop, burning bodies and using alcohol.
His civilian lawyer, John Henry Browne, said a defense request for a delay in the pretrial hearing was denied Monday.
The defense sought the delay because it has been told it won’t receive forensic evidence until Oct. 26. Browne said that will leave insufficient time to evaluate it.
“That’s what, 10 days before the hearing? But the judge says it’s going forward no matter what,” Browne said.
The pretrial hearing is expected to last two weeks.
Browne said he will travel to Afghanistan soon to question witnesses.
During the hearing, villagers are expected to testify by video from Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. The second week of the proceeding will be held in the evening so villagers can testify during daylight hours in Afghanistan.
The hearing under Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice will determine whether Bales, of Lake Tapps, will face a court-martial.
Investigators say Bales was armed with a 9 mm pistol and M4 rifle outfitted with a grenade launcher when he walked off his base in southern Afghanistan March 11 and went on a nighttime killing spree.
Bales could face the death penalty if convicted.