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Court martial scheduled in September for soldier accused of slaughtering 16 in Afghanistan

A military judge has scheduled a Sept. 3 court martial for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers during nighttime raids last year.

One of Bales' lawyers, John Henry Browne, tells The Associated Press that the date is too soon, and they will ask the judge to reconsider. The defense team had asked for a trial in mid-2014.

Bales faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors say he slipped away from his base early March 11 to attack two nearby villages and returned covered in blood. Most of the victims were women and children.

The Army is seeking the death penalty.

Browne says the judge has scheduled jury selection to begin Aug. 19.

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Associated Press writer Rachel La Corte contributed from Olympia, Wash.

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