POSTED: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 4:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The American serviceman charged in an Afghan killing rampage is back on American soil. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is in solitary confinement.
The decorated war veteran, devoted family man - those who love him are struggling to reconcile the man they knew with this grisly scene in Afghanistan where bales is accused of killing sixteen civilians in a cold-blooded rampage.
"They're suffering a lot,” John Henry Brown, Bale’s attorney, says. “They're confused a lot. They're concerned, and they're scratching their head more than anything else."
Bales was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to await formal charges … but his attorney is already laying the groundwork for his defense:
"He was told he would not be going back to the Middle East,” Browne explains. “He was training to be a recruiter and then overnight he was told he was going back."
Bales served three tours in Iraq where he suffered a head injury and lost part of a foot. He had only been in Afghanistan a few months.
"There was an incident right before these allegations where one of his fellow soldiers was mortally wounded," Browne notes.
Experts say the insanity defense is rarely used, and rarely successful, in the military court system.
"I think you would have to assume that's going to be an uphill battle, just on general principles," Eugene Fidell, Yale Law school, says.
As Bales awaits charges his family is living in protective custody on a U.S. base in Washington state.