Family stands by soldier accused in slayings

RACHEL LA CORTE Associated Press Published:

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- The family of a soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers this year says they grieve for the victims but continue to support Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

The preliminary hearing in the Bales case concluded Tuesday, and the military will now decide whether he should face a court-martial.

Bales' family released a statement after the hearing, saying the testimony from victims was "painful, even heartbreaking."

However his family says they still presume his innocence and know Bales as a "good citizen, soldier, son, husband, father, uncle and sibling."