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Mar 17, 2012 3:12 PM by Matt Stafford

Details emerge about suspect in Afghan massacre

SEATTLE (AP) - Neighbors and court records are providing a conflicting, if incomplete, picture of the U.S. soldier accused of massacring 16 civilians in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was flown to the U.S. military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., yesterday where's he's been placed in his own cell.

Neighbors in his home state of Washington recall Bales as a kind-hearted father known to join his two young children for playtime in their yard. They say he "never expressed a lot of emotion" about his multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. But they describe him as guarded when talking about the years he spent away at war.

He told an interviewer for a military newspaper in 2009 that he and his comrades in Iraq were proving there was a "real difference between being an American" and "being a bad guy."

But his attorney says Bales "wasn't thrilled" about being sent to Afghanistan after three tours of duty in Iraq, during which he was twice injured.

Court records describe a couple of brushes with trouble, including a 2008 hit-and-run accident and a 2002 arrest for assault on a girlfriend. That case was dismissed after Bales underwent anger management counseling.

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