At a pretrial hearing for Staff. Sgt. Robert Bales — accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, including at least nine children, in March in villages outside his base in southern Afghanistan — military prosecutor Maj. Rob Stelle said the attack was so heinous that it warranted capital punishment. Bales' lawyer, Emma Scanlan, said Bales had been under a potentially mind-altering cocktail of alcohol, steroids, sleeping pills, and stress. The presiding officer of the inquiry will issue his opinion on how to proceed with the case, although higher military officials will have the final say. The hearing was at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, about an hour south of Seattle, where Bales, 39, was stationed. The military hasn't executed a service member since 1961.
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