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U.S. Suspect In Afghan Massacre To Get Sanity Review

U.S. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (left) at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California in a photo from August 2011
A U.S. soldier charged with killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan was reportedly undergoing a medical review to determine his fitness to stand trial.

Reuters quoted an unidentified military spokesman as saying the review by doctors, which was to begin on March 17, would be completed by May 1.

It will determine Robert Bales' mental state at the time of the 2012 crime and competency to stand trial.

Bales is accused of gunning down the villagers, including children, in Kandahar Province during a pair of predawn rampages on March 11, 2012.

The U.S. Army referred the case to court martial.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Bales, a veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the 39-year-old acted with premeditation.

Bales has not entered a plea.

His mental health has been expected to be a key part of his defense.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP