Afghan Massacre Suspect Plagued By Woes

March 18, 2012 by staff 

Afghan Massacre Suspect Plagued By Woes, Bypassed for a promotion and struggling to pay for his house, Robert Bales was eyeing a way out of his job at a Washington state military base months before he allegedly gunned down 16 civilians in an Afghan war zone, records and interviews showed as a deeper picture emerged Saturday of the Army sergeant’s financial troubles and brushes with the law.

While Bales, 38, sat in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.’s military prison Saturday, classmates and neighbors from suburban Cincinnati remembered him as a “happy-go-lucky” high school football player who took care of a special-needs child and watched out for troublemakers in the neighborhood.

Troubles with the law, But court records and interviews show that the 11-year veteran — with a string of commendations for good conduct after four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan — had joined the Army after a Florida investment job went sour, had a Seattle-area home condemned, struggled to make payments on another and failed to get a promotion or a transfer a year ago.

His legal troubles included charges that he assaulted a girlfriend and, in a hit-and run accident, ran bleeding in military clothes into the woods, court records show. He told police he fell asleep at the wheel and paid a fine to get the charges dismissed, the records show.

Military officials say that after drinking on a southern Afghanistan base, Bales crept away on

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