Lawyer: Bales broke down discussing rampage

(CBS News) FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales remains in custody at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth miltiary prison, awaiting formal charges in the Afghanistan shooting rampage.

His civilian attorney, John Henry Browne, says his client has no memory of the incident, in which 16 civilians were killed - most of them women and children.

Browne met with Bales for the first time Monday.

Browne said that during his first meeting with Bales, his client broke down. It was an eight-hour session that left everyone in the room in tears.

"I was stunned and moved by the whole thing, beyond anything I've ever been involved in before," Browne said.

Did Bales tell Browne he went out the night of March 11 and he shot these people?

"No, he did not," Browne responded. "He has no memory. He has an early memory of that evening and he has a later memory of that evening, but he doesn't have memory of in between."

Browne says Bales denies being drunk on the night of the shootings, as has been suggested by some reports.

"He said he had a couple of sips of something," Browne replied, "but he didn't even have a full drink."

Bales showed concern for his fellow troops in Afghanistan, according to his lawyer, and gave a riveting account of what it's like to be a soldier deployed multiple times.

"There's no question" that Bales suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Browne said. "I mean, you get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being in a car accident; so you can imagine what it would do to you if you were dragging parts of your friends' bodies around."

Browne said his client was "being watched very carefully" at Leavenworth, though it isnt' clear whether officials at the prison have put him under official suicide watch. "I'm concerned about his being a danger to himself," added Browne.

The soldier is eager to speak with his family, according to Browne. His wife, Karilyn, broke her silence in a statement Monday, calling the killings "a terrible and heartbreaking tragedy." She said, "What has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire."

We're also learning more about Bales' troubled financial past.

He was accused of stealing money from his clients when he worked as a financial adviser. He was ordered to repay more than $1 million, but never did.

And just this month, the family put their home in Washington state on the market, for $50,000 less than they paid. Moving vans pulled up Monday.

Another problem: Bales has no money to pay his civilian lawyers.

Bales was to meet with his defense team again Tuesday.

Browne also says a member of that team will be heading to Afghanistan sometime in the next ten days to speak with officials, survivors and, potentially, some witnesses to the crime Bales is alleged to have committed.

To see Peter Van Sant's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Peter Van Sant

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"

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