Afghanistan

Lawyer for US soldier charged in Afghan massacre questions whether attack occurred

Aug. 23, 2011: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is seen in this image from a military newsletter participating in a training exercise meant to simulate contact with local Afghan civilians.

Aug. 23, 2011: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is seen in this image from a military newsletter participating in a training exercise meant to simulate contact with local Afghan civilians.  (Defense Department)

The lawyer representing a US soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan villagers says "he hasn't seen any proof" that the massacre took place.

John Henry Browne, the civilian attorney representing Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, told Q13-TV in an interview released Wednesday that the military has not shared any evidence with his defense team.

"There's no crime scene. There's no DNA. I'm told that one of the villages where this supposedly happened doesn't even exist anymore," he said.

Bales was charged in March with 17 counts of premeditated murder, as well as aggravated assault and the attempted murder of six other Afghans. Nine children were among those killed in the March 11 killing spree in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

Shortly after he was hired by Bales' family, Browne said the military had been withholding the "entire investigative file" and had refused to allow the defense team to review a video of Bales allegedly taken from a blimp the night of the killings.

His comments Wednesday flatly questioned if the massacre took place.

A reporter for Q13-TV asked Brown, "You're not convinced that 17 civilians were killed that night?"

"I certainly haven't seen any proof of that," Browne responded.

The military has said the investigation into the events in Kandahar is ongoing and "within these guidelines the prosecution is and has been communicating with the defense," according to Maj. Chris Ophardt, spokesman for 1st Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Browne, who has also defended high profile clients like serial killer Ted Bundy, described Bales as "very emotional" and "a lot more intelligent than I expected." He also confirmed Bales suffered from a head injury sustained by an IED in Iraq.

"This is a guy who has been deployed four times. The military knew he had a head injury," Browne said.

Browne refused to discuss whether post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, would be a factor in Bales' defense.

"Until I'm convinced they can prove something I'm not going to go into any sort of mental defenses or anything."

Bales is in military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., awaiting mental evaluation to see if he is fit to stand trial.

Click for more from Q13 Fox.