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Entries in Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (6)

Friday
Mar232012

Bales to Wife: 'Something Terrible' Has Happened

US Army(WASHINGTON) -- Just moments after allegedly murdering more than a dozen Afghan civilians in an apparent unprovoked attack, American staff sergeant Robert Bales called his wife and told her “something terrible” had happened, the wife’s lawyer told ABC News on Friday.

Robert Bales called his wife Kari from Afghanistan apparently after he had surrendered to coalition forces there and spoke to her for about three minutes before the call was cut off, attorney Lance Rosen said.

It wasn’t until Bales was back in the U.S. that Bales spoke to his wife again Wednesday.

According to Rosen, the two did not discuss the case against Bales in the more recent call, but spoke about the couple’s two young children.

“It was so good to hear his voice,” Kari Bales told Rosen.

Bales was charged Friday with 17 counts of murder, plus six counts of aggravated assault and six counts of attempted murder.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar212012

Attorney for Afghan Murder Suspect Says Proving Guilt Will Be Difficult

US Army(FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) -- After meeting with Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for a second day, attorney John Henry Browne suggested on Tuesday that the government will have a difficult time finding his client guilty of murdering 16 Afghan civilians 10 days ago.

"As far as we know there are no eyewitnesses.  As far as we know, the government hasn't been back to the scene of the alleged incident.  So there is no forensic evidence," Browne told ABC News.

"There's a lot of things missing that are usually not missing in a criminal case," he added.

Bales is waiting to be charged for the killings of the civilians a short distance away from his former base in southern Afghanistan.  He was brought to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after U.S. military officials decided against having him tried in Afghanistan.

Browne was hired by Bales' family.  His wife, Karilyn Bales, said the murders were "completely out of character of the man I know and admire."

The attorney also rejected reports that Bales came back to his base and confessed to the slayings.

"That's not true either.  And as a matter of fact the government's paperwork that they filed doesn't have that in it at all.  I'm very suspicious of that report," Browne said.

He said Bales has a limited memory of what happened that night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar202012

Sergeant 'Does Not Remember Everything' From Afghan Massacre Night

US Army(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' lawyer, John Henry Browne, told ABC News that his client "does not remember everything from" the day when he allegedly slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians.

In an interview with CBS News, Browne said Bales has not confessed to the shootings and has large gaps in his memory from the night of March 11 when they occurred.

"He has an early memory of that evening. ... And he has a later memory of that evening but he does not have memory ... in between," Browne said.

In a statement Monday, Bales' wife, Karilyn, offered condolences from her family to the victims, many of whom were children.

"Our hearts go out too all of them, especially to the parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents of the children who perished," she said.

[CLICK HERE TO READ KARILYN BALES' FULL STATEMENT]

Karilyn Bales issued her statement as her husband met with his lawyer for the first time at the Fort Leavenworth military prison, and the U.S. military said that his trial will take place in the U.S., not Afghanistan.

But Mrs. Bales said she is mystified about what happened and how her husband, the father of their two children, could be accused of such an atrocity.

"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... I too want to know what happened.  I want to know how this could be," she said.

Karilyn Bales alluded to efforts to protect her family and said, "The pain inevitably inflicted in war should never be an excuse to inflict yet more pain.  The cycle must be broken.  We must find peace."

She ended her statement saying, "The victims and their families are all in my prayers, as is my husband who I love very much."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar202012

Afghan Murder Suspect 'Took My Life Savings,' Says Retiree

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Robert Bales, the staff sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians, enlisted in the U.S. Army at the same time he was trying to avoid answering allegations he defrauded an elderly Ohio couple of their life savings in a stock fraud, according to federal documents reviewed by ABC News.

"He robbed me of my life savings," Gary Liebschner of Carroll, Ohio, told ABC News.

Financial regulators found that Bales "engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments," according to a report on Bales filed in 2003.  Bales and his associates were ordered to pay Liebschner $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages but have yet to do so, according to Liebschner.

"We didn't know where he was," Liebschner told ABC News.  "We heard the Bahamas, and all kinds of places."

Liebschner says he recognized Bales after news reports named him as the American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a shooting rampage.

Liebschner filed a complaint against Bales in May 2000, claiming Bales took his life savings of $852,000 in AT&T stock and through a series of trades reduced its value to nothing.

The Ohio retiree recalled Bales as a "smooth talker."  Asked if he regarded Bales as a con man, Liebschner said, "You've hit the nail on the head."

At the time, Bales worked for an Ohio brokerage firm, MPI.

According to federal documents, Bales failed to appear at an arbitration hearing to resolve Liebschner's complaint. 

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar192012

Afghan Killing Suspect to Be Tried in the US

United States Army(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S military will try Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in the U.S. despite Afghan demands that his trial for the alleged murder of 16 civilians -- most of them children -- be held in Afghanistan, a U.S. official said, according to a transcript released Monday.

Bales, 38, met with his lawyer for the first time Monday in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He was flown out of Afghanistan to Kuwait last week, and then to Kansas over this past weekend.

U.S. military officials had previously said the location of the trial had not been determined and did not rule out having the trial in Afghanistan.

But in a briefing with Afghan journalists Sunday, a U.S. official said that Bales "will be tried in the United States. We have not determined, we are doing some coordination to find out what the final venue will be, but the proceedings will take place somewhere in the United States."

The transcript of the briefing was released Monday and the official spoke on the condition that he be identified only as a U.S. forces Afghanistan legal expert.

The source was asked how he could be tried in the U.S. when crucial witnesses are in the Afghan villages where the victims died during the March 11 massacre.

"The presence of the families and the victims is certainly going to be a consideration," the source said. "So that is part of the normal process in the United States and under our system."

Returning to the issue of witnesses later in the discussion, he said, "If he is brought to trial it is possible that Afghan witnesses and victims would be brought over."

He also said that no representative of the Afghan government will be part of the prosecution team. The Afghan government is conducting its own investigation of the killings and so far has indicated it believes more than one U.S. soldier was involved.

Bales has yet to be charged, although charges could be filed as early as Monday.

According to military law expert Eugene Fidell, Bales will likely face either life in prison with possibility of parole or the death penalty, a punishment the military hasn't carried out since 1961.

In capital cases deposition testimony is not allowed, Fidell told ABC News. This means if there are Afghan witnesses to the massacre, they must travel to the U.S. to testify in person. And since they cannot be forced to testify, some witnesses may decide not to make the trip because they do not trust the U.S. military.

Bales, a father of two, is represented by John Henry Browne a Seattle attorney whose clients have included serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit." Browne, who said he has taken on only three or four military cases, will have a team that includes at least one military lawyer.

Bales is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth's military prison in Kansas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar192012

Afghan Killing Suspect Meets With Lawyer for First Time

United States Army(WASHINGTON) -- Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who allegedly shot and killed 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, during a nighttime rampage, is meeting with his lawyers for the first time Monday.

Bales has yet to be charged, although charges could be filed as early as Monday.

According to military law expert Eugene Fidell, Bales will likely face either life in prison with possibility of parole or the death penalty, a punishment the military hasn't carried out since 1961.

In capital cases, deposition testimony is not allowed, Fidell told ABC News. This means if there are Afghan witnesses to the massacre, they must travel to the U.S. to testify in person. And since they cannot be forced to testify some witnesses may decide not to make the trip because they do not trust the U.S. military.

Bales, a 38-year-old father of two, is being represented by John Henry Browne, a Seattle attorney whose clients have included serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit." Browne, who said he has taken on only three or four military cases, will have a team that includes at least one military lawyer.

Bales is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth's military prison in Kansas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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