SEATTLE - The US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians was upset at having to do a fourth tour of duty in a war zone and was likely suffering from stress after seeing colleagues wounded, his defense lawyer said on Thursday.
Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne said the 38-year-old staff sergeant accused of gunning down children and families on Sunday had already been wounded twice in three tours in Iraq and had been told he would not be sent back to a war zone.
"He and his family were told that his tours in the Middle East were over. His family was counting on him not being redeployed," said Browne at a news conference in Seattle. "Literally overnight that changed. So I think it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back."
An unnamed US official told The New York Times the killings were a result of "a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues - he just snapped."
Asked about the Times report, Browne said he did not know about alcohol and acknowledged that stress was a factor, but he dismissed the domestic issue as "nonsense."
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