Lawyer: Army death-penalty decision irresponsible

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FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2011 file photo provided by Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 1st platoon sergeant, Blackhorse Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The Army says it will seek the death penalty against Bales, accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers during pre-dawn raids in March. The announcement Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 followed a pretrial hearing last month for Bales, who faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File)

SEATTLE (AP) — Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' lawyer says the Army's decision to seek the death penalty against his client for a massacre in Afghanistan in March is "totally irresponsible."

Attorney John Henry Browne tells The Associated Press that the Army is simply trying to take the focus off its own failings in sending soldiers into war zones when they have already done multiple deployments and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Browne says nothing would be served by executing Bales, who was serving his fourth deployment. Prosecutors say Bales killed 16 civilians March 11 during predawn raids on two villages.

No date has been set for his court martial, which will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.