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Lawyer Of Soldier Suspected In Massacre Begins Mounting Defense

Attorney John Henry Browne said the meeting he had with his client Robert Bales, the Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, was "just really emotional."

Browne also corrected some details of Bales' story that he had released earlier. According to the AP:

-- One of Bales' fellow soldiers did lose his legs because of a mine, but it did not happen the day before Bales allegedly went on a shooting rampage. Browne also clarified that Bales did not witness the event.

-- The injury to Bales' foot did not happen during his last deployment. It happened earlier.

Browne met with Bales for seven hours in Leavenworth Kanas, where Bales is in pretrial detention. In an interview with CBS News, Browne began mounting Bales' defense.

"He has no memory of...he has an early memory of that evening and he has a later memory of that, but he doesn't have memory of the evening in between.," Browne told CBS. The network adds:

"Browne also said reports of his being drunk that night were not really true.

"'He said he had a couple sips of something but he didn't have a full drink,' and therefore he wasn't drunk, Browne said.

"Bales told Browne he was 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 and he's concerned that there would be retaliation that would be caused by what people think he's done,' Browne said."

Earlier today, Karilyn Bales, the sergeant's wife, sent The Seattle Times a statement, offering the families of those killed her condolences.

"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," she wrote. "Please respect me when I say I cannot shed any light on what happened that night so please do not ask."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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