(WASHINGTON) — Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who allegedly shot and killed 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, during a nighttime rampage, is meeting with his lawyers for the first time Monday.
Bales has yet to be charged, although charges could be filed as early as Monday.
According to military law expert Eugene Fidell, Bales will likely face either life in prison with possibility of parole or the death penalty, a punishment the military hasn’t carried out since 1961.
In capital cases, deposition testimony is not allowed, Fidell told ABC News. This means if there are Afghan witnesses to the massacre, they must travel to the U.S. to testify in person. And since they cannot be forced to testify some witnesses may decide not to make the trip because they do not trust the U.S. military.
Bales, a 38-year-old father of two, is being represented by John Henry Browne, a Seattle attorney whose clients have included serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton Harris-Moore, the “Barefoot Bandit.” Browne, who said he has taken on only three or four military cases, will have a team that includes at least one military lawyer.
Bales is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth’s military prison in Kansas.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Ian Kerner, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN