published Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Agent: Afghan massacre suspect took steroids

In this detail of a courtroom sketch, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, center, is shown Monday during a preliminary hearing in a military courtroom at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.
In this detail of a courtroom sketch, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, center, is shown Monday during a preliminary hearing in a military courtroom at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — A U.S. agent who investigated a massacre at two Afghan villages last March says the soldier charged in the killings had taken steroids.

Special Agent Matthew Hoffman of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division testified at a hearing Wednesday that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales tested positive for steroids three days after the killings.

Hoffman also described the enraged reaction of Afghan villagers. He says the situation was so volatile that U.S. investigators couldn’t get to the crime scene for three weeks. Even then, they were expecting to be ambushed.

Bales faces 16 counts of premeditated murder, six counts of attempted murder and a count of steroid use. The hearing will help determine whether his case advances to a court martial.

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