December 14, 2017
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Charges against Afghan massacre suspect may be weeks away

The unidentified US soldier at the centre of the massacre in which 16 Afghans, mostly women and children, were killed over the weekend may not be charged by US authorities for weeks, his defense lawyer said on Thursday.

John Henry Browne, a prominent Seattle defence attorney who represented notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, said that charges against his client would be filed "probably not sooner than a few weeks."

Browne said earlier on Thursday he had been selected by the suspect to represent him, and had already talked with his new client - who is being held at a base in Kuwait.

The Department of Defence has not yet named the suspect, and an Army spokesman said on Thursday he would not be identified until charges are filed. It is not known where he will be tried.

Little is known about the soldier, a staff sergeant in the 2-3 Infantry, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which is housed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, just south of Seattle.

After serving three tours in Iraq, the sergeant arrived in Afghanistan in December and had been at the Belambai base since Feb. 1. He was moved to Kuwait by US authorities on Wednesday.

The soldier had been injured twice in Iraq, Browne assured on Thursday, and had concerns about his physical fitness for duty. Browne dismissed notions the suspect had been suffering any marital problems.

Lieutenant Colonel Gary Dangerfield, a spokesman at the Lewis-McChord base, declined comment on the case.

Browne has practiced in Washington state for 40 years, and specializes in defending people charged with what he calls "serious offenses."

Among those, he has defended was Colton Harris-Moore, who became known as the "Barefoot Bandit" and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in January for a two-year crime spree. Harris-Moore is now 20 years of age.

Browne, known for a flamboyant courtroom manner and inventive legal mind, attempted to defend Harris-Moore on the grounds that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from an unsettled childhood.

Some have conjectured that PTSD, or a traumatic brain injury, may have played a role in the Afghanistan incident, but there is no evidence the suspect suffered from either.



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Tags:  US  afghanistan  soldier  massacre  

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