Afghan shooting suspect meets with lawyer

March 20, 2012 at 8:23 AM
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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan., March 20 (UPI) -- The civilian lawyer for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales said Bales doesn't remember parts of the day the shootings of 16 people in Afghanistan occurred.

Seattle lawyer John Henry Browne said his first attorney-client meeting with Bales at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., was "almost unbelievable" emotionally and described Bales' state of mind as "confused," The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

"He doesn't remember everything the evening in question; that doesn't mean he has amnesia," Browne told reporters Monday after his meeting. "There are lots of other options."

Browne said the meeting was especially emotional when Bales described his time in Afghanistan.

"He's very good at putting me in his shoes," said Browne, whose client list includes serial rapist and killer Ted Bundy and other convicted killers. "We all know what's going on over there, but you don't really know it until you listen to somebody like him."

Bales, 38, arrived Friday at the military prison from a U.S. facility in Kuwait. His wife and two children remained at his home base, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Wash.

Prosecutors are expected to file charges against Bales this week, defense officials have said. If there is a trial, military officials said witnesses in Afghanistan, including the victims' family members, could be brought to the United States to testify, the Journal reported.

Bales, on his first tour in Afghanistan after serving three tours in Iraq, allegedly left his base in Kandahar province March 11 before dawn, walked to two neighboring villages and killed 16 people. The shootings strained already-tense U.S.-Afghanistan relations, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai calling for coalition forces to remain on base and for an earlier transition of security duties to Afghan forces.

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