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Bales returned to base before killing again: report

Sources say he evaded detection twice the night 17 Afghan villagers died.

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A man identified as Robert Bales appears in this Defense Department photograph published in High Desert Warrior, a publication at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin in California. (Courtesy)

Sgt. Robert Bales, the man accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, returned to base the night in question before setting out to kill again, The Associated Press reported today.

Speaking with 2 anonymous sources familiar with the case, the AP reported Bales managed to evade sentries as he carried out attacks in villages north and south of the US Army base.

The details might provide some explanation for accusations in Afghanistan that multiple soldiers carried out the shootings.

Prosecutors officially charged Bales on Friday with killing 9 adults and 8 children on March 11 in Kandahar.

More from GlobalPost: Bales charged with 17 counts of murder

He’s also charged with 6 counts of attempted murder and 2 counts of assault.

Military sources told AP that a guard reported seeing a soldier return to base about 1:30 a.m.

Another sentry, who came on duty later, said he saw a solider leave about 2:30 a.m.

Bales is in a Fort Leavenworth, Kan., prison, and faces a maximum penalty of death if convicted.

Meanwhile, his wife has established a legal defense fund, CNN reported.

Kari Bales released a statement today saying she would accept donations to a Seattle post office box to assist the family with Bales’ legal fees.

“Over time, the truth will come out,” her statement read. “That’s why we have due process under the laws of our country. Unfortunately, due process is very expensive.”

She said donations aren’t tax deductible, and she only accepts money from people who “grieve with Mrs. Bales over the lives that were lost that night,” and “that in America everyone is entitled to a fair trial.”

Donations can be mailed to The Staff Sgt. Robert Bales Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 2774, Seattle, Wash., 98111.

Kari Bales is also scheduled to appear on NBC’s Today Show on Monday, the network said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120324/bales-returned-base-killing-again