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Sgt. Bales‘ attorney John Henry Browne said the hearing will give the defense a chance to see what the government can prove. They are expecting a court-martial.

Sgt. Bales is an Ohio native who joined the Army in late 2001 — after the 9/11 attacks — as his career as a stockbroker imploded. An arbitrator entered a $1.5 million fraud judgment against him and his former company that went unpaid, and his attempt to start an investment firm in Florida also failed.

He was serving his fourth combat tour after three stints in Iraq, and his arrest prompted a national discussion about the stresses posed by multiple deployments.

Ms. Scanlan, his attorney, declined to say to what extent the lawyers hope to elicit testimony that could be used to support a mental-health defense. Sgt. Bales himself will not make any statements because his lawyers said he would have nothing to gain.

Sgt. Bales‘ wife, Karilyn, who plans to attend the hearing, had complained about financial problems on her blog in the year before the killings, and she noted that Sgt. Bales was disappointed at being passed over for a promotion.

Mr. Browne described those stresses as garden-variety — nothing that would prompt such a massacre — and has also said, without elaborating, that Sgt. Bales suffered a traumatic incident during his second Iraq tour that triggered “tremendous depression.”

Sgt. Bales remembers little or nothing from the time of the attacks, the defense said.

Ms. Scanlan, who deferred an opportunity to give an opening statement, said the Army only recently had turned over a preliminary DNA trace evidence report from the crime scenes, but defense experts have not had time to review it.

Sgt. Bales, who spent months in confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., before being transferred to Lewis-McChord last month, is doing well, Ms. Scanlan said.

“He’s getting prepared,” she said, “but it’s nerve-wracking for anybody.”