Judge considers motions in Afghan killings case

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013
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"A lot of our witnesses that we want to testify in a potential penalty phase will be here, including Sgt. Bales' mother," Scanlan said after the hearing. "She's a very important witness to who he was as a child and who he is a man."

Among the other witnesses defense lawyers might call on Bales' behalf is his high school football teammate Marc Edwards, a future running back at Notre Dame and later NFL teams including the 2002 Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Other issues discussed at the hearing included the defense team's request to have a new psychiatric expert to help determine whether Bales was suffering from mental issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Citing attorney-client privilege, Scanlan did not say why the request was made. The defense team provided its reasons to the judge — but not prosecutors — in a confidential court filing.

Prosecutors objected to the motion, saying it smacked of witness shopping, and the judge said he would rule later. He said the same about the defense team's request for a consultant to be appointed to help them pick jurors.

Bales' legal team also is requesting the handwritten notes of the first Afghan government officials who viewed the crime scene.

The defense has received an official report about those findings, but lawyers said the notes could yield information left out of the report. Prosecutors said they so far have been unable to obtain the notes from the Afghans. At the judge's request, they agreed to make another attempt through official channels.

"They took a lot of notes, and that's what we want to see," Major Greg Malson, one of Bales' attorneys, said after the hearing.

During a preliminary hearing late last year, prosecutors built a strong eyewitness case against the veteran soldier, with troops recounting how they saw Bales return to the base alone, covered in blood.

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Johnson can be reached at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle