War in Afghanistan
4:08 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Wife of Afghan shooting suspect offers condolences

The wife of the U.S. soldier held in the slayings of 16 Afghan villagers is offering condolences to the victims' families and says she too wants to know what happened.

Karilyn Bales issued a statement through a Seattle lawyer Monday, for the first time offering her comments on a case that has threatened to upend American policy over the decade-old war.

Her husband, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales of Lake Tapps, Wash., is being detained at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He has not yet been charged.

Karilyn Bales says their families are profoundly sad. She says what they've read and seen in news reports is "completely out of character of the man I know and admire."

Lawyer describes talk with suspect

Seattle lawyer John Henry Browne says he met for three hours at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas with Robert Bales, the Army staff sergeant who's suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children.

Browne describes the conversation with his client Monday as an emotional one. He says he's read about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, but that "it's totally different when you hear about it from somebody who's been there."

Formal charges against Bales are expected within a week.

If the case goes to court, a legal expert with the U.S. military says the trial will be held in the United States, and that it's possible that Afghan witnesses and victims would be flown to the U.S. Many in Afghanistan had demanded that the trial be held there.