Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 1:00 p.m.

Witnesses and survivors recounted a horrific scene following a massacre at two villages in Kandahar Province March 11 that killed 16 civilians and wounded six. They testified via a live video link from Afghanistan during a pretrial hearing for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Pre-trial hearings continue this evening at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. He’s accused of massacring 16 civilians in Afghanistan, including nine children. Prosecutors say he left his base last March and went on an overnight five-hour killing spree.

The hearings will determine whether the case will advance to court-martial, where the government has said it plans to seek the death penalty. KUOW’s Sara Lerner spoke with Patricia Murphy, who’s covering the hearings.

Pretrial hearings for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales continue tonight when Afghan villagers and soldiers are expected to testify by video. The hearings are expected to run into the early morning hours US time.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Army prosecutors say Staff Sgt. Robert Bales murdered 16 Afghan civilians in two villages this past March in an act of “sheer brutality.” That was the opening argument at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine if Bales will face a full court martial and possibly the death penalty.

Sgt. Bales Pretrial Hearing Set To Begin Monday

Nov 5, 2012

A pretrial hearing is scheduled to begin Monday morning for the Washington soldier charged with massacring 16 Afghan civilians in March. Army prosecutors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will make the case that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales should face a full court martial.

Sgt. Bales is a 39-year-old married father of two. He’s accused of entering two Afghan villages on the night of March 11 and murdering nine children, three women and four men –- then burning some of the bodies. Bales was on his fourth combat deployment at the time of killings.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Five Washington-based soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injuries have received the Purple Heart. They were honored Monday at a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In 2011, the Army issued new standards for awarding Purple Hearts to soldiers with brain injuries.

Hundreds of soldiers stand in formation in the rain.

They are members of the a battalion whose job is to clear routes of buried and hidden bombs. These soldiers returned from Afghanistan in July.

Army Spc. Brittany Gordon
(Photo/7th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

The US Department of Defense issued a news release Monday afternoon about the death of Army Specialist Brittany Gordon. Gordon was assigned to the 572nd Military Intelligence Company, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The DoD says 24-year-old Gordon died from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device. Now multiple news reports say Gordon’s death may be the latest in a series of so-called insider attacks in Afghanistan.

The Army sergeant charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year has arrived back in Washington. That confirmation came late Monday from an official at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Sgt. Robert Bales has been held at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas since March when he was accused of the murders and other crimes. His attorney, Emma Scanlan, calls her client’s return home to Washington “incredibly significant.”