On Jul. 2, CBS News reported on an interview with the wife of Robert Bales, the staff sergeant charged in the killing of sixteen or seventeen Afghan villagers in March.  --  Bales's wife, Kari, "believes her husband is innocent" but has no idea what happened in Afghanistan, she said.[1]  --  CBS billed its interview as Kari Bales's "first live interview," but the week before NBC broadcast a more probing and more emotional interview prerecorded at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with Matt Lauer.  --  Kari Bales told Matt Lauer that she has not wanted to speak to her husband about the events in Afghanistan "on a monitored phone call."[2]  --  On Wednesday, AP reported that Bales will face an Article 32 hearing (to examine charges against him prior to a court martial) that "is expected to be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle."[3]  --  Bales si currently being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.  --  AP said that Bales "faces 16 counts of premeditated murder; six of attempted murder; seven of assault; one of possessing steroids; one of using steroids; one of destroying a laptop computer; one of burning bodies; and one of using alcohol.  His attorneys have been reviewing 5,000 pages of discovery materials turned over by prosecutors."  --  John Henry Browne, Bales's attorney, "did not immediately return calls by Reuters seeking comment" about the hearing.[4] ...


[Article with video]


CBS News
July 2, 2012


The wife of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of leaving his southern Afghanistan base and murdering 16 unarmed civilians, believes her husband is innocent.

Kari Bales said she's in touch with her husband, but has not asked him about what happened.

"I just don't need to ask him," she said Monday on "CBS This Morning."  "I know my husband, and it's not a question I really need to ask.  I know him.  I know what he's capable of and not capable of, so I don't need to ask the question."

When asked what life would be like if her husband were to be found guilty, Bales said, "At this point I haven't gotten that far.  I truly believe that my husband did not do this.  I really just want the facts to come out through the fair trial."

Bales said she was "completely shocked" and didn't believe that it had happened.  "(I) didn't believe that my husband was involved at all.  I still do not, no," she said.  "I want to know what happened.  I don't know what happened.  I don't think that anyone really knows what happened."

Bales believes the truth of what happened will come out at trial.  She said initial details of what happened were "very confusing and didn't make a lot of sense."  "They were sensationalized," she said.  "A lot of untruths about me and my husband, our life.  So it makes it hard to believe anything that came out."

Bales spoke with her husband two days before the shooting and said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  "We just talked about our normal things, the kids, work, how he was holding up," she said.  "We didn't -- he didn't really say a lot about this, during this deployment on the telephone.  Most of it was me doing the talking about what was going on at home in our lives at home so that's all he wants to hear is, 'How are you doing?'"

Robert Bales and his fellow soldiers seemed to be working long hours and were under constant threat, Bales said.  "This (deployment) was just more intense," she said.

On a previous deployment to Iraq, Robert Bales suffered a mild traumatic brain injury when his vehicle flipped over.  But his wife said she didn't hear of the incident until he'd returned home.  "I had no idea that anything had happened to him until maybe a couple months after he had been back and he told me 'I got blown up,' and I was in shock that he hadn't told me while he was over there."

A mother of two children, ages 5 and 2, who works full-time, Bales said she hasn't told them about what's happened.  She said she tells the children their father's at work.  "I kind of tell them he's at special work," she said.  "They understand that.  We miss him dearly.  We talk about daddy every day.  He talks to them on the phone whenever he calls.  Right now, they just think he's still away and he'll be coming home soon.  And I haven't gotten to the point where I don't know what to tell them when he doesn't come home and they think he's going to be home."

When asked what that conversation will be like, "I know that it will -- it will feel right when it happens.  I want to protect my children as much as I can.  And they don't understand any of this that's going on."

Asked if the 5-year-old knows what's happening, Kari Bales said, "She knows something is up.  I don't even understand what's going on. . . . I don't understand why we're in this position and I really want a fair trial for my husband so that the facts do come out.  And my children deserve to be proud of their father because he's sacrificed a lot for his country.  He's been away from our family too often."

Watch the full "CBS This Morning" interview in the video [at the link] above.


[Article with link to video]


Daily Mail (London)
June 27, 2012


The gruesome details of her husband’s alleged rampage against a group of unarmed civilians in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, has [sic] not stopped Kari Bales from supporting him unconditionally.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is the sole suspect in the deaths of 16 Afghans after the March 11 mass shooting, and he is also charged with wrongfully possessing and using steroids and unlawfully consuming alcohol while deployed.

Even though he reportedly admitted to the attacks when questioned by military officials following the shootings, his wife maintains that he would never do such a ‘horrible’ thing.

She refuses to even ask about that tragic night for fear that their conversation may be bugged.

Kari recently opened up about how difficult it has been for their family, visiting Robert at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas while he awaits his trial.

She said that her husband of seven years is a mild-mannered, loving father to their two children and she cannot imagine him intentionally harming others like them during his military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘He loved the kids over there.  One time I sent him a teddy bear and Bob gave it to a little Iraqi girl.  She loved it.  His belief was that they were reaching the next generation, and that things (between the two countries) could get better,’ she told *People* magazine.

As for their own children -- their five-year-old daughter Quincy and their two-year-old son Bobby -- they have only been able to see their father once since he was sent back to the U.S. following the incident.

Since the military moved the Bales family from their home in Seattle to an Army base on the eve of his name being released following the mass shooting, Kari tells the magazine that she has done her best to make life as normal as possible for the children.

While he isn’t there in person, Robert is even trying to help remind his children that he is there for them while he is locked in his cell thousands of miles away.

She said that he signs his letters to them with an outline of his hand so that they can give him an imaginary high-five once they finish reading.

‘(He’s) caring, romantic.  This Mother’s Day he sent me chocolate-covered strawberries even though he was in prison.  He’s a great dad.  He changed poopie diapers.  He was my partner,’ she told the magazine.

When they are together, their conversations stick to safe topics like the children and home life, and she admits that she has never asked him about that fateful March evening.

While she maintains an extreme level of spousal devotion, his lawyers are preparing for a brutal legal battle.

‘The military is trying to put my client in front of the firing squad,’ Bales’ lawyer John Henry Browne said.

Though his assessment was an exaggeration, it isn’t extremely far off as Bales does face the death penalty for the alleged crimes. 

Mr. Browne has been known to handle controversial cases in the past, and two of his most infamous clients were the serial killer Ted Bundy and the teen ‘Barefoot Bandit’ who travelled cross country using stolen planes and cars.

In this case, Mr Browne plans on exploring a defense based around the possibility that Bales was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, which he believes contributed to his decision to kill the unarmed civilians.

Though she says that the military has been very helpful throughout the whole process, the family is still struggling to make ends meet and Kari has set up a website that links to a fund for her husband's defense.

She told journalist Matt Lauer that her husband did not display many of the typical symptoms of the disorder -- which include nightmares, and erratic behavior shifts.

As a result, Kari maintains that while she feels heartbroken for the families of the victims, she does not think her husband is responsible for the murders.

Her sister Stephanie Tandberg told *People* that Kari’s devotion will stay consistent throughout the long legal ordeal.

‘This is an unbelievable situation.  But Kari married Bob.  Her vows were spoken.  And she will follow those vows to the end,’ she said.



Associated Press
July 11, 2012


SEATTLE -- The Army has scheduled a preliminary court hearing in September for the soldier accused of slaughtering 16 civilians during a pre-dawn rampage on two Afghan villages in March.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will face an Article 32 hearing on Sept. 17, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield said Wednesday.  The location of the hearing has not been confirmed, but one of Bales' lawyers, Emma Scanlan, said it is expected to be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

Investigators say Bales, a father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., was equipped with a 9 mm pistol and M-4 rifle outfitted with a grenade launcher when he walked off his base in southern Afghanistan March 11, attacked two local villages and burned some of the victims' bodies.  He's being held in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Under Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, an investigating officer must determine the sufficiency of the charges against a defendant before the case can proceed to a court martial.

Bales faces 16 counts of premeditated murder; six of attempted murder; seven of assault; one of possessing steroids; one of using steroids; one of destroying a laptop computer; one of burning bodies; and one of using alcohol.

His attorneys have been reviewing 5,000 pages of discovery materials turned over by prosecutors.


By Laura L. Myers

July 11, 2012


SEATTLE -- The U.S. Army has scheduled a preliminary court hearing in September for the soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians in rampage in March.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is to have an Article 32 hearing on September 17, Army Lieutenant Colonel Gary Dangerfield said Wednesday.  Dangerfield said he did not know where the hearing would be held.

Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is accused of walking off his base under cover of darkness and opening fire on civilians in their homes in at least two villages.

The March 11 mass shooting in Afghanistan's restive Kandahar province eroded already strained U.S.-Afghanistan relations.

Bales is also charged with assault, wrongfully possessing and using steroids, unlawfully consuming alcohol while deployed and destroying a laptop computer.

He is being held at Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, but was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment headquartered at joint base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Premeditated murder is a capital offense under the U.S. military justice code, so Bales could face the death penalty if convicted.

He would face a mandatory minimum sentence, if convicted, of life imprisonment with eligibility for parole, the military has said.

Seattle-based attorney John Henry Browne, representing Bales, did not immediately return calls by Reuters seeking comment.

An Article 32 hearing is a military justice proceeding that is similar to a civilian grand jury session that determines whether a case gets referred to a court-martial for trial.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Christopher Wilson)