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Hearing next month in Afghan killing spree

Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM   |   Comments

TACOMA, Wash., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians, has been transferred to the Washington state base where he is to be tried, officials say.

Bales, who was arrested in Afghanistan in March, had been held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A spokesman for the Army said Bales arrived at the confinement center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma Monday and was being held there, The Tacoma News Tribune reported.

His pretrial hearing is set to begin Nov. 5 at the base. Bales faces life in prison or the death penalty if he is convicted of murder. Prosecutors say he killed 16 people, including women and children, in a bloody rampage through two villages March 11.

Bales, who enlisted in the Army in 2001, spent most of his career at Lewis-McChord. His family is living in the area.

"He can see his wife, he can see his children on a more regular basis," Emma Scanlan, one of his lawyers, told Northwest News Network. "He's going have much better access to his counsel, which is important in terms of his case going forward, so we are very happy that he is coming out here."

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