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Sgt. accused of killing 5 GIs appears in court

Nov. 19, 2012 - 07:01PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 19, 2012 - 07:01PM  |  
Army Sgt. John M. Russell.
Army Sgt. John M. Russell. (Family photo via AP)
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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — An Army sergeant charged with killing four other soldiers and a Navy officer at a mental health clinic in Iraq has appeared in a military courtroom in Washington state.

Sgt. John Russell entered no pleas during the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. A base spokesman, Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, says the purpose was to re-inform Russell of the five premeditated murder charges he faces and that the Army is seeking the death penalty.

Russell is accused of going on a shooting spree at the Camp Liberty Combat Stress Center near Baghdad in May 2009.

His lawyer has said he has no memory of the killings, and witnesses have said he appeared distant and paranoid before the attack. They said Russell previously tried to surrender to military police so he wouldn't hurt himself or others.

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