Before allegedly launching a shooting spree against Afghan villagers, US Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, his lawyer said at a hearing yesterday. Bales' defense team said it was readying a "mental health defense" in the massacre case; lawyer John Henry Browne says he has government documents confirming the diagnosis, which came before the deployment in question.
The military judge called for a "sanity board" of doctors to review Bales' health. The defense hasn't yet entered a plea, thereby keeping options open for new motions. Browne, a civilian, said it would take at least a year and a half for him to formulate his case. A fair trial, he told reporters, is unlikely unless "we slow this thing down," Reuters reports. He also noted that two potential witnesses for the prosecution had been killed by US-led troops after it emerged that they were insurgents. Bales faces 16 murder charges, among other charges. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)