By Jonathan Easley - 03/26/12 12:23 PM EDT
The wife of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, defended her husband, saying that despite what the Army says is a considerable amount of evidence, “I just don’t think he was involved.”
Karilyn Bales’s first interview since the shootings was aired on NBC’s "Today" show on Monday.
Robert Bales, a 38-year-old Iraq and Afghan war veteran, is charged with 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault, as well as dereliction of duty, after authorities say he went on a shooting rampage targeting Afghan civilians.
Bales’s attorney, John Henry Browne, says his client has no memory of the shootings, and that he plans to argue that Bales suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Bales had previously suffered what was described as a brain injury, although Karilyn said he didn’t show any symptoms of PTSD.
“He shielded me from a lot of what he went through,” she said. “He’s a very tough guy.”
Bales was on his fourth combat tour in 10 years, and Karilyn said the fourth deployment came as a surprise.
“It was a big shock because we weren’t on the schedule to be deployed again. To be honest with you, he didn’t want to miss out anymore on his kids’ lives.
“I have no idea what happened,” Karilyn continued. “But he would not — he loves children, he would not.”
Nine children were killed in the attacks, and the Army now says Bales might have returned to his outpost in the middle of the shootings before returning to complete the massacre.
“I used to believe everything I read is true,” she added. “And now as I’m reading about these, some things are true and some things aren’t true, so I’m waiting to find out what actually is true.
“I don’t think anything will really change my mind in believing that he did not do this.”