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Suspect in Afghan Killings Claims ‘Memory Loss’ – Media

RIA Novosti

06:06 20/03/2012 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - A U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 civilians in house-to-house shooting spree in southern Afghanistan a week ago told his lawyers that he had no recollection of the incident, CBS reported.

The 38-year-old Staff Sergeant Robert Bales spent more than seven hours on Monday with three of his lawyers, including defense attorney John Henry Browne, and did not confess to the crime.

"He has no memory of [the crime]… he has an early memory of that evening and he has a later memory of that, but he doesn't have memory of the evening in between," CBS quoted Browne as saying.

Bales is believed to have walked off his base in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar in the middle of the night on March 11 and gunned down 16 people, including nine children, in a rampage on two nearby villages.

Shortly after the attack, he was moved to Kuwait before being flown to the United States on Friday to await trial at the military detention center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Bales is expected to be charged by the end of this week with 16 counts of murder that carry a possible death penalty.

The man, a husband and father of two, was serving on his fourth combat deployment in 10 years, the first three in Iraq, where he reportedly suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Browne, who is well-known for his defense of a number of high-profile clients, including serial killer Ted Bundy, said he will not seek an insanity defense, rather one of "diminished capacity," like some sort of an emotional breakdown, CBS reported.

The killings have undermined U.S. relations with Kabul even further following widespread unrest and rioting across Afghanistan last month after it was disclosed that U.S. soldiers in the war-torn Central Asian country had unintentionally burned copies of the Koran while disposing of waste at a military base.

In January, a video footage of U.S. troops appearing to urinate on the bloodied corpses of Taliban fighters also sparked a wave of angry protests in Afghanistan.

Pentagon has promised to investigate all the incidents and punish those guilty.

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