— an incident that sent American-Afghan relations into a tailspin." /> Suspect named in Afghanistan massacre: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales - Metro.us

Suspect named in Afghanistan massacre: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales

Activists burn a picture of first U.S. president George Washington during a protest in Quetta on March 16, 2012, against a U.S. soldier killing 16 villagers and over the burning of Korans in Afghanistan.
GETTY IMAGES

The soldier implicated in the massacre of 16 villagers in Afghanistan this week – an incident that sent American-Afghan relations into a tailspin – is U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a U.S. official said on Friday.

The official declined to provide additional details about Bales, who is suspected of walking off his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and gunning down 16 villagers.

Earlier, the soldier’s attorney said the staff sergeant was scheduled to arrive on Friday at the Fort Leavenworth army base in Kansas, where he will be held in maximum security. Fort Leavenworth has the U.S. Defense Department’s only maximum-security facility.

The 38-year-old soldier, whose military unit is based south of Tacoma, Wash., had been held in Kuwait after he was flown out of Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Bales has not yet been charged in the incident.

“I would assume he’ll be charged pretty fast,” said Jeffrey Lustick, a defense attorney and former Air Force military prosecutor and defense attorney in Bellingham, Wash.

The soldier is expected to face justice under U.S. military rules, but it is not clear where any trial would take place.

Seattle attorney John Henry Browne told Reuters that post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, would likely be part of the defense of the four-tour veteran.

“It is commonly used in military defense,” he said, calling it a mitigating factor. Browne has said the soldier was unhappy about returning to combat after being wounded twice in Iraq.

He added on Friday that the man had witnessed a serious injury to a comrade the day before the massacre in the southern province of Kandahar on Sunday.

“One leg was blown off,” Browne said, and the sergeant was nearby. Browne or a colleague from the defense team plan to meet the sergeant next week, he said.

It is believed that the soldier walked off the Belambai base in the middle of the night last Sunday and began shooting Afghan villagers in two nearby villages, according to a congressional source.

The shooting of villagers has harmed relations between Afghanistan and the United States. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the Pentagon of failing to fully cooperate with an investigation into the killings.

Browne told CNN that he had spoken with his client earlier in the morning, and in the short conversation the soldier “sounded distant and kind of like a deer in the headlights, but okay.”

At a news conference on Thursday, Browne described his client as “an exemplary soldier” who was upset at having to do a fourth tour of duty in a war zone and was likely suffering from stress after seeing colleagues wounded.

An unnamed U.S. official had told The New York Times the killings were a result of “a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues — he just snapped.”

But Browne said on CNN that marital problems were “totally bogus.” He said his client has a “very strong marriage and frankly we’re all taking offense at that.”

Karzai met with village elders and families of victims of the shootings on Friday and appeared to back their belief that a single gunman could not have killed so many people and in different places some distance apart.

On Thursday Karzai called for NATO troops to leave Afghan villages and confine themselves to major bases, underscoring fury over the massacre and clouding U.S. plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."