Sgt. Bales' money woes included $1M judgment
(CBS News) Staff Sergeant Robert Bales talked for the first time on Monday to the lawyer who will defend him in the massacre of civilians in Afghanistan.
Bales, now being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, said he has no memory of what happened the night 16 Afghans - including nine children - were shot dead in their homes.
Bales' wife expressed her sorrow in a statement Monday. Karilyn Bales called the killings "a terrible and heart breaking tragedy."
"What has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire," she said.
Her statement ends with this: "The victims and their families are all in my prayers, as is my husband, who I love very much."
There have been a lot of troubles in Bales' life.
Movers pulled up to the house where Bales lived with his wife and two young children recently. The family has now been moved to nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord, for safety reasons, according to the military. Neighbor Kassie Holland paints a picture very much at odds with the image of a man who allegedly shot, stabbed, and burned 16 Afghan civilians.
"He was always happy, a happy guy, full of life. I never would have expected it," Holland said.
Bales grew up in Norwood, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, where he's remembered as a good football player and friend by Michael Blevins. They were in touch last month on Facebook.
"I've known him since the time I was two years old and nothing in his character shows that he's going to go out and massacre innocent people," Blevins said.
But there was another side to Bales. In 2002, he was accused of assaulting a girlfriend and was required to undergo anger management. In 2008, he was cited for a hit and run accident.
But his financial problems were much bigger than his legal issues. Before he enlisted in the Army, Bales worked as a financial adviser. He was accused of stealing money from clients.
Arbitrators found he'd engaged in fraud, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments. He was ordered repay more than $1 million, but he never did.
Fellow soldiers describe him as gung-ho, a leader. Over 11 years he was deployed to war zones four times. He reportedly suffered a traumatic brain injury when his Humvee rolled over and a foot injury that required rehab back in the states. Bales was home from his third deployment in 2010, a happy time for the family, as neighbor Paul Wohlberg recalls.
"We did a couple of barbecues and we went to a pizza place down the road here. I went once or twice with his family. Just a regular guy," Wohlberg said.
Then he was passed over for a promotion to Sergeant 1st class. His wife wrote on her blog that he was left "sad and disappointed" by the news.
Bales had hoped to be sent to Europe or Hawaii, but he was deployed to Afghanistan instead, just as the family was facing more financial problems. Just this month they put their family home on the market for $50,000 less than they paid, shortly before the massacre took place.
- Okla. tornado survivor finds dog buried alive under rubble
- 5/24: I-5 bridge collapses north of Seattle; "On the Road": Three siblings survive Okla. tornado
- The forecaster who sounded the alarm for Moore, Okla.
- Sibling rivalry takes a backseat after Okla. tornado
- Jersey Shore shop owners reopen for Memorial Day
- Teacher injured in Okla. tornado takes first steps
- I-5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Survivor of KKK Baptist Church bombing: "I had to forgive"
- Survivor of Bangladesh factory collapse speaks out
- On the road: Three siblings survive Okla. tornado
- 5/23: Obama: The war on terror, "like all wars, must end"; baby born as tornado struck
- Man killed in brutal London attack
- Tornado victim reunites with dog during interview
- CBS News goes undercover in a Bangladesh clothing factory
- Injured third-grade teacher tells of trying to protect students
- Oklahoma miracle baby -- born amidst tornado chaos