Judge requiring Bales to undergo sanity review

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 11:37 AM

SEATTLE (AP) — The military judge overseeing the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales says he will require Bales to undergo an official review of his sanity before he can present any mental health defense to charges of massacring Afghan civilians.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales deferred entering a plea Thursday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to 16 counts of premeditated murder and other charges related to a nighttime attack on two villages last March.

But the judge took up arguments over whether Bales can present a mental health defense or testimony from mental health experts, given that he has not yet participated in a "sanity board" review.

The judge says Bales needs to participate if he wants to present a mental health defense, but he has made no decisions about the conditions of that review and what information from it is turned over to prosecutors.

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