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Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was not drunk, his lawyer tells CBS
The network reports Bales met with his lawyers for more than seven hours
"He's in shock," attorney John Henry Browne says about his client
Bales stands accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians
An Army soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians was not drunk at the time, but doesn’t remember what happened and is in shock, his attorney told CBS News on Monday.
The network reported Staff Sgt. Robert Bales met with three of his lawyers, including lead attorney John Henry Browne, for more than seven hours.
“He has an early memory of that evening, and he has a later memory of that evening, but he doesn’t have a memory of in between,” Browne said about the night of the shooting spree.
Contrary to some reports, Bales was not intoxicated, the attorney told CBS.
“He’s in shock. He’s fixated on the troops left on the ground, and what they’re accusing him of, and how that might have negative ramifications on his friends and compatriots,” Browne said.
The attorney said off camera that he will not pursue an insanity defense, but one of diminished capacity, CBS reported.
When asked whether his client had a message for his wife and children, Browne responded: “He loves them dearly, and he’s very anxious to talk to them.”
Rebecca Steed, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where the suspect is being held, confirmed the meeting between Browne and Bales earlier in the day but declined to provide details.
Repeated calls to the attorney after the Monday meeting were not returned.
Bales stands accused in the shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, allegations that have strained already tense U.S.-Afghan relations and intensified a debate about whether to pull American troops ahead of their planned 2014 withdrawal.
Karilyn Bales, the suspect’s wife, released a statement Monday calling the rampage a “terrible and heartbreaking tragedy” and asking for some privacy.
“Our family has little information beyond what we read and see in the media. What has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire. Please respect me when I say I cannot shed any light on what happened that night, so please do not ask,” she said. “Please allow us some peace and time as we try to make sense of something that makes no sense at all.”
After the March 11 shootings in two neighboring villages just outside a U.S. outpost in the Panjwai district, Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded troops withdraw from villages and return to their bases. He said relations between the two countries were “at the end of their rope.”
Afghans are demanding that the suspect be returned to Afghanistan to face trial, even as villagers and lawmakers question the U.S. military’s account of what happened.
U.S. officials have alleged Bales left his outpost and single-handedly carried out the killings in the villages that left nine children, three women and four men dead.