War in Afghanistan
4:25 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Bales to be charged with murder; had two assault cases

A U.S. official says Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who had been stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, will be charged with 17 counts of murder in the massacre of Afghan villagers.

It has also come to light that Bales was accused in a second incident involving alcohol and violence.

A sheriff's department report released Thursday says Robert Bales was accused in 2008 in Washington state of shaking hands with a woman, pulling her hand into his crotch and then punching and kicking her boyfriend. It describes Bales as "extremely intoxicated."

Authorities say the case was referred to prosecutors who then did not file charges. A message seeking comment from Bales' attorney was not immediately returned.

Bales was arrested in 2002 for the drunken assault of a casino security guard. He completed anger management class in that case.

Other charges

An official says charges against Bales also include six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault and other violations of military law. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced.

The 38-year-old soldier allegedly gunned down nine Afghan children and eight adults as they slept in their homes in two southern villages.