SAN FRANCISCO - A woman living near the US base of a soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians remembered him on Friday as an "obnoxious drunk" who pressed her hand into his crotch and picked a fight with her boyfriend.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38, was charged on Friday with murdering 17 civilians and trying to kill six more on the night of March 11 near his army base in Afghanistan. His lawyer has admitted that Bales had had something to drink on that night but played it down as a factor.
Washington state police reports show that Bales had three brushes with the law over the last decade, all of which mention alcohol. The first was in 2002 and the last two were in 2008, in between his second and third tours in Iraq. He went to war a fourth time in December, to Afghanistan.
"He was an obnoxious drunk," Myra Jo Irish said by telephone on Friday, describing the night of April 5, 2008, at the Paradise Village Bowl bowling alley in Tacoma, near Bales' US base, Lewis-McChord, in Washington state.
She made a report to police that night but never pressed charges.