When Robert Bales returned to base after allegedly killing 17 Afghan civilians, he had only a foggy memory of what just happened—a faint smell of gunfire and human bodies, and nothing else. Or at least, that's what he told lawyer John Henry Browne. Browne, who met Bales for the first time last week, says the soldier exhibits symptoms of PTSD, including nightmares, flashbacks, and headaches, the Washington Post reports.
Browne dismissed the idea that alcohol, which Bales has a checkered history with, played a part, saying Bales had just "two sips" of liquor that night. But at some point Bales may have remembered what he'd done. He allegedly left the base twice that night to commit the shootings, one in a village to the south and later in a village to the north. After the first shooting he reportedly returned to base and told a fellow soldier that he had killed people, an American official tells the New York Times. The soldier never told anyone because he "did not believe it." Bales was probably able to slip in and out of the base because Afghan, rather than American, guards were on duty.