Wife of Robert Bales, soldier accused in Afghan massacre, speaks out

Kari Bales on "CBS This Morning."
Kari Bales on "CBS This Morning."

(CBS News) The wife of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of leaving his southern Afghanistan base and murdering 16 unarmed civilians, believes her husband is innocent.

Kari Bales said she's in touch with her husband, but has not asked him about what happened.

"I just don't need to ask him," she said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "I know my husband, and it's not a question I really need to ask. I know him. I know what he's capable of and not capable of, so I don't need to ask the question."

When asked what life would be like if her husband were to be found guilty, Bales said, "At this point I haven't gotten that far. I truly believe that my husband did not do this. I really just want the facts to come out through the fair trial."

Bales said she was "completely shocked" and didn't believe that it had happened. "(I) didn't believe that my husband was involved at all. I still do not, no," she said. "I want to know what happened. I don't know what happened. I don't think that anyone really knows what happened."

Bales believes the truth of what happened will come out at trial. She said initial details of what happened were "very confusing and didn't make a lot of sense." "They were sensationalized," she said. "A lot of untruths about me and my husband, our life. So it makes it hard to believe anything that came out."

Bales spoke with her husband two days before the shooting and said nothing seemed out of the ordinary. "We just talked about our normal things, the kids, work, how he was holding up," she said. "We didn't - he didn't really say a lot about this, during this deployment on the telephone. Most of it was me doing the talking about what was going on at home in our lives at home so that's all he wants to hear is, 'How are you doing?'"

Robert Bales and his fellow soldiers seemed to be working long hours and were under constant threat, Bales said. "This (deployment) was just more intense," she said.

On a previous deployment to Iraq, Robert Bales suffered a mild traumatic brain injury when his vehicle flipped over. But his wife said she didn't hear of the incident until he'd returned home. "I had no idea that anything had happened to him until maybe a couple months after he had been back and he told me 'I got blown up,' and I was in shock that he hadn't told me while he was over there."

A mother of two children, ages 5 and 2, who works full-time, Bales said she hasn't told them about what's happened. She said she tells the children their father's at work. "I kind of tell them he's at special work," she said. "They understand that. We miss him dearly. We talk about daddy every day. He talks to them on the phone whenever he calls. Right now, they just think he's still away and he'll be coming home soon. And I haven't gotten to the point where I don't know what to tell them when he doesn't come home and they think he's going to be home."

When asked what that conversation will be like, "I know that it will - it will feel right when it happens. I want to protect my children as much as I can. And they don't understand any of this that's going on."

Asked if the 5-year-old knows what's happening, Kari Bales said, "She knows something is up. I don't even understand what's going on. ... I don't understand why we're in this position and I really want a fair trial for my husband so that the facts do come out. And my children deserve to be proud of their father because he's sacrificed a lot for his country. He's been away from our family too often."

Watch the full "CBS This Morning" interview in the video above.