FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2011, file photo, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System photo, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 1st platoon sergeant, Blackhorse Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The U.S. Army says Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers during nighttime raids last year, will be arraigned Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales could face the death penalty if convicted in the March 11 massacre. He faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.(AP Photo/DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File)
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.