US soldier 'saw friend's leg blown off'

2012-03-16 07:39

Seattle - The US soldier accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers last weekend had been reluctant to leave on his fourth deployment and had been staying in a camp where someone was severely wounded the day before the shooting, a his lawyer said on Thursday.

Seattle attorney John Henry Browne told The Associated Press that his client's family provided him with details of how he was standing next to a friend whose leg was blown off the day before the rampage. The details have not been independently verified.

Browne said the incident affected all of the soldiers at the base. It isn't clear whether the incident might have helped prompt the horrific middle-of-the-night attack on civilians in two villages last Sunday.

Loath to go to Afghanistan

The suspect had been injured twice during his three previous deployments to Iraq, and he was loath to go to Afghanistan to begin with, Browne said.

Browne declined to release his client's name, citing concerns for the man's family, which is under protection on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma. But he said the soldier has two young children, ages 3 and 4.

The soldier, a 38-year-old father of two who is originally from the Midwest, deployed last December with the 3rd Stryker Brigade, and on February 1 was attached to a "village stability operation". Browne described him as highly decorated and said he had once been nominated for a Bronze Star, which he did not receive.

But he did say that the soldier and his family thought he was done fighting. During tours in Iraq, the soldier suffered a concussive head injury in a car accident caused by a roadside bomb, Browne said, and he suffered a battle-related injury that resulted in surgery to remove part of his foot.

He was screened by health officials after the head injury before he redeployed, Browne said. He did not know if his client had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but said it could be an issue at trial if experts believe it's relevant.

He and the rest of his brigade had initially been told they wouldn't have to go to Afghanistan, Browne said.

Family 'shocked'

Browne and his co-counsel, Emma Scanlan, said they had met with the soldier's wife and other family members, and Browne said he spoke briefly by phone with the soldier, whom he described as stunned and distant.

His family was "totally shocked," he said. "He's never said anything antagonistic about Muslims. He's in general very mild-mannered."

Browne said he knew little of the facts of the shooting, but disputed reports that a combination of alcohol, stress and domestic issues caused him to snap. He said the family said they were unaware of any drinking problem, and described the couple's marriage as "fabulous."

The soldier is accused of going on a shooting rampage in villages near his base in southern Afghanistan early on Sunday, killing nine children and seven other civilians and then burning some of their bodies. The shooting - which followed a controversial Quran-burning incident involving US soldiers - has outraged Afghan officials.

The suspect was flown out of Afghanistan on Wednesday evening to what officials describe as a pre-trial confinement facility in Kuwait. Officials have anonymously described him as a father of two who has been in the military for 11 years. He has served three tours in Iraq and began his first deployment to Afghanistan in December.

Ted Bundy's defence attorney

The soldier asked to be represented by Browne, a well-known Seattle defence attorney, when he was taken into custody, the lawyer said.

Browne said he's spoken with the soldier, but did not discuss the substance of the allegations. He said the soldier had no prior events in his Army dossier indicating misbehaviour.

Browne once defended serial killer Ted Bundy and recently represented Colton Harris-Moore, a youthful thief known as the "Barefoot Bandit".

Browne said he has only handled three or four military cases before. The soldier will also have at least one military lawyer.

Military lawyers say once attorneys involved in the initial investigation of an alleged crime involving a service member have what they believe to be a solid understanding of what happened and are satisfied with the evidence collected, they draft charges and present them to a commander.

That person then makes a judgment on whether there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed and that the accused committed it.

That commander then "prefers" the charges to a convening authority, who typically is the commander of the brigade to which the accused is assigned but could be of higher rank.

  • Yusuff - 2012-03-16 07:58

    justification for mass murder?

      Rehan.Harmse - 2012-03-16 09:05

      That guys see things you can't imagine. You are right, it is no justification for mass murder, but a human can only take so much and there is always a breaking point. He will be send home and never need to go to Iraq again, but he will probably be there for life in his mind.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-16 09:59

      Totally Yusuff. Murdering swine. I see the entire other story about it being a group of soldiers has been annexed from the media... typical. What do you expect from the USA, who overthrow governments and kill people to suit their own agenda.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 15:59

      Why don't you say anything about the car bombs and suicide attacks by the Islamic Jihadists in your midst?

  • bluzulu - 2012-03-16 08:14

    This G.I Joe has kids but kills kids. The Irony of American foreign policy. Give him the Afganistan Goverment as this crime was committed on their soil. Why join the Army if you cannot handle the situation?

      koo.doyle - 2012-03-16 09:04

      Until you have been in the situation, you don't know whether you can handle it or not. Most of these guys are barely more than kids themselves, sent into unspeakable situations. Who knows what can make someone snap. I do not for one second condone what he did, but people in traumatic situations often lose the plot a bit.

      Andre - 2012-03-16 09:14

      Oooh and you have been there know what its about and completed your tours in Iraq and your still fine I guess - you are ignorant and talking about something you have no idea about, bet you've never even seen a corpse or shot a gun. Hypocrite

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-16 10:00

      Constable Andre has a big gun. He is a hero.

      Martin - 2012-03-16 10:18

      Andre, im with you on that.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:00

      Simple, uninformed thinking.

  • malcolm - 2012-03-16 08:37

    Mohammed, I agree with you. America needs wars to drive its failing economy. If oil was to be traded globally in Euros or another currency other than the dollar. The dollar would devalue massively over night. The blank dollar cheques would be cashed, and America would find itself instantly bankrupt.They would not have finance to purchase much needed imports. They would become one of the poorest nations on earth. The paper the dollar would be printed on would become more valuable than the currency figure printed on it.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:02

      Zzzzzzzzzzz. If, if, if ....

      bluzulu - 2012-03-18 11:06

      Nice one, could not have said it any better than Malcolm.

  • crazyjourno - 2012-03-16 08:45

    Easy to judge!! No one knows what happened! And, thing is he is fighting a war, far from his family, country and friends! Don't be so quick to judge! What if your husband, dad, brother or son was in his position? People do snap hey! So many of you have not even seen a corpse, but yet you judge and think soldiers should handle anything! They are human too, u know! If you want to blame someone, blame the US for meddling in where they do not belong! That man, as all those US soldiers just do not belong in that country! I do not blame, nor condemn... The US and the previous administration is to blame!

      Paco - 2012-03-16 09:37

      stop covering up for that piece of sh*t that's going to fry in hell

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:02

      Paco, you're being inhuman and disgusting.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-03-16 08:49

    guys, I know this soldier screwed up big time. But he was in Iraq 3 time, was blown up, car accidents, headinjuries and seeing friends and brothers in arms shot dead. what he has is called post traumatic stress disorder. The blown of leg was the last straw that shattered his sense of reality. he is mentally unstable and very ill. I do not excuse what he has done, it is horrific-but this man is a pawn in a political game played by superpowers. He and his family is just as much victims as the situation as isd the Afghani community. my condolances to the Afghani people and the soldier and his family.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-16 10:00

      Who cares he is a piece of sh*t.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:03

      Goodthing, you too are being inhuman and disgusting.

      bluzulu - 2012-03-18 11:08

      He entered the army of his own free will and he is the victim?

  • Stefan - 2012-03-16 08:54

    You guys dont know what has happaned, what has been going through his head. You cant do anything if someone has post traumatic stress and 16 little afganstanis is much less than the americans who have been brutally slaughtered "google it" they cut off americans heads on live tv and they bomb them where ever they go. on a ratio its about 16:1000000 . So dont say crap about this guy if u dont know what its like BLUZULU

      Andre - 2012-03-16 09:12

      Agreed - I'm a Police office not even fighting a war and I can relate a little bit to what he says about hating the place and not wanting to be there. We should all shut up 'cos we have never walked a mile in shoes like he's ...

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-16 10:01

      BS Stefan, the US and its allies have been murdering people for 100 years.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:03

      Goodthing, now you're being an idiot.

      bluzulu - 2012-03-18 11:09

      Yes , I know I can not take the life of another hence I do not belong to any Military susidary, Thanks Stefan.

  • TBlogger - 2012-03-16 09:02

    TWATS!!! Trying to justify and seek empathy for his "traumatic" event of seeing a leg blown off.. Innocent civilian Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian Men see their wives raped and brutally assualted, Women see their husbands killed and children are taken away from their parents and used for cheap labour!Yet you don't see these people going on a rampage killing innocent people! So stop trying to justify what this so-called soldier did and punish him!! or better yet, give him over to the Afghan people to be dealt with.. Then you will see true justice.

      Jaba - 2012-03-16 12:41

      "Palestinian Men see their wives raped and brutally assaulted" Please provide proof – people want proof not your oversold propaganda. If a Palestinian sneezes the whole world knows about it, because so many pro-Palestinians groups make sure we all get a ‘cold’. The Palestinian is the most well paid refugee in history – if one takes the amount of money that has been stolen by Arafat alone - that would have made all Palestinians very rich. The Palestinian has become so reliant on foreign aid that they will NEVER want peace with Israel as the money will run dry. Very close to the same “give me – give me” attitude we now find in South Africa (without the violent propaganda). 9000 civilians have been killed in Syria the last few months but you concentrate on the US/West? The Taliban gave al-Qaeda a safe house after they killed 3000 Americans in 2001. Today the Taliban is to blame for 80% of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan & westerns Pakistan. Every human being of sound mind should know this by now. In any event, US and Israel are not the Satan that the Ayatollah of Rock'n rollah declared. With the way the Arabs behave one wonders if perhaps they are the ones who are worthy of that title.

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:04

      Um, did you miss that they killed thirty people in mob-slaughters because graffiti-ridden copies of the Quoran were accidentally destroyed?

  • stalin.rudolf - 2012-03-16 09:07

    i dont think Afganistan is a province of USA, neither does Iraq, Somalia or Saudi Arabia. so how can you call a person killing innocents in a foreign country a fighter. under whose authority is the american army conducting millitary operations in other countries, because for a fact they not deployed under UN umbrella. George Bush, Obama are just war crazed lunatics.

  • Estelle - 2012-03-16 09:11

    This man is a child killer. A lot of people have seen a lot of awful things and do not resort to mass murder - besides, the American soldiers have on-site RNs and psychologists and massive mental health resources on-call...he could have sought help for all his issues. No excuses.

      Paco - 2012-03-16 09:42

      well said Estelle

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:05

      There is such a thing as mental illness. Not an excuse. Just a factual human condition.

  • anwar.daniels - 2012-03-16 11:12

    A soldier armed to the teeth sees his army buddy getting injured, and he can't handle it? I'm sure he has other kills under his belt, and many inncocents included before this incident. What about the trauma of those, and they didnt ask for it and are not military people. Is it because they are not American, makes them easier to kill, or should I say 'Mow down'

      Fred - 2012-03-16 16:06

      You shouldn't talk like this unless you actually know.

  • Jaba - 2012-03-16 13:03

    I still remember the destruction of Afghanistan's ancient Buddha statues in central Bamiyan province. The religion of peace needs to come to terms with the fact that they share this world with others – until that day comes, unfortunately we will see more of these kinds of horrific incidents. Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, Indonesia, Gaza, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Macedonia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Chechnya, Serbia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, etc. All of these recent or ongoing conflicts have involved the "Religion of Peace". Its time that the peaceful Muslim world takes their religion back. Because it has been hijacked by a few who have misinterpreted the Koran and especially the aspects of Jihad.

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