Nightly News | March 23, 2012
>>> now to another story we've been following. tonight, it's official, the u.s. army staff sergeant accused of killing now 17 civilians in afghanistan has been charged. jim miklaszewski picks up the details.
>> we knew from the start this was a horrific crime, but today's charge sheets that were released are devastating. they show for the firls time that out of all of the civilians targeted in the shooting spree , more than half, 13 of them, were children. for a crime of such magnitude, the military statement today was brutally blunt. alleging that army staff sergeant robert bales did with premeditation murder 17 afghan civilians and attempted to murder six others. a charge sheet documents all 23 shootings in grisly detail. he's accused of trying to murder one afghan girl with a gunshot wound to the head. bales received the charges today at the ft. leatherworth prison. in seattle, his civilian attorney, john henry brown , said bales has been in rough shape, even before today 's charges.
>> he's kind of in shock about the whole thing, he's emotional, very emotional.
>> in a preview of a possible defense, the lawyer also claims despite these horrific scenes, the military doesn't have much of a case.
>> there's no crime scene , no dna, no ballistics that we know of.
>> but military officials claim there's plenty of evidence. shell casings gathered at the scene. surveillance video of bales outside his base. bales' bloodied uniform and the six victims who survived, living witnesses to the crime. they also suggest that four combat tours have put his client under tremendous stress, but he showed signed of behavioral problems before he saw combat. a 2002 police report said bales was intoxicated when he attacked a casino security guard , and today, military officials report that bales was drinking with other soldiers the night of the afghanistan massacre. even after today's charges, it's not likely that bales will see the inside of a courtroom for months and the entire legal process could take years. now, according to a military official, this charges today also make it very clear that if convicted, bales could face the death penalty.
>> thank you, jim mick lu shklaszewski at the pentagon. to