Wife's statements to media won't factor in case against JBLM soldier, retired judge says



Questions have arisen as to whether the wife of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians has contradicted his lawyer.


Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales’ attorney has said Bales was stressed by four deployments to war zones and two injuries, including brain trauma, and that Bales suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.


“There’s no question. I mean, you get post-traumatic stress when you’re in a car accident; if you can imagine what it would do to you if you were dragging parts of your friends’ bodies around,” John Henry Browne said.


But in her first interview, Bales’ wife, Karilyn Bales, did not portray her husband as a soldier pressed to the breaking point.


Asked if her husband had PTSD, Karilyn said, “I don’t know a lot of the symptoms of PTSD, so I wouldn’t – he doesn’t have nightmares, things like that. No dreams.”


Karilyn Bales said it was not the stress of war, but concerns for his family that made Robert Bales hesitant to deploy for a fourth time.


“He didn’t want to miss any more of his kids’ lives,” she said.


Asked if her husband was mentally and physically prepared to deploy, she replied, “Yes, yep.”


The comments may not hurt Robert Bales’ case, though, Judge Richard Adamson told KIRO 7 on Monday. He said a military judge will ultimately order a jury to disregard any statements made in the media.


It might be surprising to hear Karilyn Bales contradict his attorney, but Adamson said it’s not relevant.


“I don’t think she harmed his case at all,” Adamson said. “You cannot completely control your clients or your client’s family, and you may wish that certain things may have been said or not said, but she’s free to say whatever she wants.”


It’s possible that Bales’ wife may not be thinking of his defense strategy because she doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong. In the interview, she said, “I just don’t think he was involved.”