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Pentagon Identifies Afghanistan Massacre Suspect as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales

Pentagon officials have identified the US solider accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians in Kandahar province last Sunday.

According to NPR, the alleged shooter is 38-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

Bales, who has been detained and transported to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas over the objections of many Afghans, attacked families in two villages in Panjwai, near Kandahar, beginning around 3am Sunday morning. A total of 16 people were killed in Alkozai and Balandi, including nine women and three children. Bales allegedly burned the bodies of some of his victims following the shooting rampage.

According to the Daily Mail, Bales, who is married with two young children, had suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of a vehicle rollover in Iraq, but was cleared for duty. The New York Times reported this morning that he had been drinking alcohol and was suffering from intense stress related to his fourth deployment.

Fox News reports that Bales has hired high-profile criminal defense attorney John Henry Browne, whose past clients have included notorious serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton Harris-Moore, aka the “Barefoot Bandit.”

According to Browne:

“[Bales] was told that he was not going to be redeployed. And they were—the family was counting on him not being redeployed. And so, he and the family were told that his tours in the Middle East were over. And then, literally overnight, that changed. So I think that it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back… Oh, they were totally shocked. He’s never said anything antagonistic about Muslims. He’s never said anything antagonistic about Middle Eastern individuals. He’s, in general, been very mild-mannered. So, they were very shocked by this.”

Browne also said that Staff Sgt. Bales was very upset after witnessing one of his comrades get his leg blown off the day before the Panjwai massacre.

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