PTSD Hinted as Soldier's Defense in Afghan Killings

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Conflicting details continue to emerge in the case of the U.S soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has been portrayed as a loving husband and father by his friends and family, but the details of his alleged shooting rampage paint a different picture.

Photographs of the victims and several accounts of the late-night killing spree have been broadcast by the media and posted on the Internet for the world to see.

But Bales has not said anything publicly about the case.

Lead defense attorney John Henry Browne will meet with Bales on Monday. The meeting will hopefully shed some light on what factors may have played into the shootings.

"This case has political ramifications. It has legal ramifications. It has social ramifications. So you couldn't really imagine a bigger case," Browne said.

Bales is being held in solitary confinement at the high security military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Charges are expected to be filed against him this week. He could face life in prison or the death penalty.

New details show the troubled side of the Army sergeant. He had a few run-ins with the law for assault charges and was also involved in a hit-and-run.

Those incidents resulted in Bales being ordered by the court to take anger management classes.

A blog post by his wife suggests he was frustrated after he was passed over for a promotion.

The defense is expected to argue that the Army sergeant was not in a healthy mental state, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after four tours of duty and two injuries.

"Everybody who has had three or four deployments to the Middle East is going to have some form of PTSD," Browne said.

"PTSD could be a mitigating circumstance that could cause a jury to determine that the death penalty is not appropriate," explained Charles Gittens, a military law expert.

It's too soon to know what route Bales defense team will take, but experts say getting an acquittal by arguing PTSD is unheard of in military court.

Bales family said they are "stunned" and "heartbroken," but they will stand behind the man they know as a "devoted husband, father, and dedicated member of the armed services."

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at