— 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
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…