Afghan Massacre Suspect Had Criminal Record, Wanted Promotion


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Staff Sgt Robert Bales (L) and another soldier at a training center in Fort Irwin, CA in 2011. United States Army(FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) — Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, named as the suspect who allegedly went on a rampage, killing 16 Afghan civilians last week, is remembered by those who know him as a devoted husband, father and friend, but news of a criminal record has surfaced and his wife’s blog posts reveal a man frustrated with not being promoted.

Between the 38-year-old’s deployments, he had scattered trouble at home, including a criminal record that includes a misdemeanor arrest for assaulting a girlfriend in 2002 that led to 20 hours of court-ordered anger management, and a report of a drunk driving arrest in 2005 for which he wasn’t charged.

His record also includes a hit-and-run in 2008.  According to the Tacoma News Tribune, he was given a 12-month suspended sentence and slapped with a $250 fine.

A blog by Bales’ wife Karilyn, a public relations and marketing manager, reveals that Bales, who served three tours in Iraq and was reluctant to be deployed to Afghanistan, was passed over last year in his bid to become an E-7, sergeant first class.

“Bob didn’t get a promotion and is very disappointed, after all the sacrifices he has made for his love of country. But I am also relieved. We can finally move on to the next phase of our lives,” she wrote.

Karilyn had written that their family was hoping he would be assigned to Germany, Italy or Hawaii or perhaps become a sniper instructor in Georgia.  Instead, Bales was sent to Afghanistan where it’s believed he snuck away from his outpost and methodically killed 16 Afghans, including nine children, before attempting to get back to his base.

The incident has further strained relations between Washington and Kabul, with many government officials furious that Bales was not left in Afghanistan to face a public trial.  He was brought to Kuwait and then flown to the U.S. last Friday, where he is in solitary confinement at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. 

Bales’ defense team will meet with him on Monday to go over his military, medical and personnel records.  He has not yet been charged and could face the death penalty if found guilty. 

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