Hearing set for soldier in health clinic shootings

By JOHN MILBURN | August 8, 2011 | 3:15 AM EDT

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A key military hearing is starting for a U.S. soldier charged in the 2009 shooting deaths of five service members at a mental health clinic in Iraq.

Army Sgt. John Russell is accused of carrying out the deadliest act of soldier-on-soldier violence during the war in Iraq. He's facing several charges, including premeditated murder.

The hearing beginning Monday at Fort Leavenworth is similar to a civilian grand jury. A military officer will hear evidence and decide if Russell should face a military trial.

The case brought attention to the issues of combat stress and morale as troops increasingly served multiple combat tours.

Russell had gone to counseling to deal with combat stress, but an investigation found lapses in how the military monitored him.

Russell is originally from Texas.