Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who despite Afghan reports of a team of over a dozen attackers is listed by the US as the lone gunmen in last weekend’s Kandahar massacre, is expected to be charged within the next week. Meanwhile, stories about Bales continue to emerge.
The early stories of the “mild-mannered” and all-around good guy Bales are still around, but new reports of Bales’ past legal troubles, including a 2002 arrest for assaulting his girlfriend and a hit-and-run charge in which he was found later, asleep behind the wheel in the woods.
Bales also abandoned a home two years ago. According to the homeowners’ association president the house was “ramshackled. They were not dependable. When they left there were vehicles parts left on the front yard… we’d given up on the owners.”
Nothing in Bales’ past, of course, indicated that the sergeant was going to massacre 16 people, including a large number of children, and burn a number of the corpses. Still, the military attorney from a past Afghan massacre, Dan Conway, says that the military has been “lax” in handling the private legal scrapes of soldiers, and this is likely to add to the questions surrounding the case.