Official: Accused Soldier 'Snapped' After Drinking

Lawyer says he didn't want Afghan deployment

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 16, 2012 2:50 AM CDT | Updated Mar 16, 2012 7:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US soldier accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers had been drinking and was stressed about being on his fourth combat tour, a military official tells the New York Times. "When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol, and domestic issues—he just snapped," the official says. John Henry Browne, the Seattle lawyer who has taken the soldier's case, says these reports are baseless. His client, he says, served three tours in Iraq, "wasn't thrilled about going on another deployment. He was told he wasn't going back, and then he was told he was going."

According to Browne, the 38-year-old previously suffered a concussive head injury following a roadside bombing and a battle-related injury that resulted in surgery to remove part of his foot. And the day before the killing, his friend's "leg was blown off, and my client was standing next to him," notes Browne, who says the incident affected the entire base. Browne says his client is a "career military man" who grew up in the Midwest, and enlisted within a week of the 9/11 attacks. His family is "totally shocked," he tells AP. "He's never said anything antagonistic about Muslims. He's in general very mild-mannered."

Afghan security forces stand guard outside one of the homes where Afghan civilians were killed last weekend.
Afghan security forces stand guard outside one of the homes where Afghan civilians were killed last weekend.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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The government is going to want to blame this on an individual rather than blame it on the war. - John Henry Browne

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