Preliminary hearing ends in Afghan massacre case

Published On: Nov 13 2012 01:40:21 PM PST
Sgt. Robert Bales

Army prosecutors are asking an investigative officer to recommend a death penalty court-martial for an Army staff sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn rampage, saying that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales committed "heinous and despicable crimes."

Prosecutors made their closing arguments Tuesday after a week of testimony in the preliminary hearing at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Prosecutors say Bales slipped away from his remote base to attack two villages early on March 11. Among the dead were nine children.

An attorney for Bales argued there's not enough information to move forward with the court-martial.

The investigating officer he would have a written recommendation by the end of the week. But a final decision will be made by a three-star general and there's no indication how long that could take.