Soldier in Afghan massacre case took malarial drug, lawyer claims

SEATTLE — The lawyer for the American soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians says Staff Stg. Robert Bales used a controversial malarial drug linked to paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis while on a previous deployment in Iraq.

The Seattle Times reports that it’s unclear whether Bales took the same drug in the days leading up to the slayings last year near a remote Army outpost in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month released a 2012 “adverse event” notification from a pharmacist who reported that an unnamed Army soldier taking mefloquine murdered Afghan civilians. Bales’ attorney, John Henry Browne, told the Times that he has documents indicating his client took the drug while in Iraq, but said medical records for his client’s time in Afghanistan are incomplete.

“We know that he was given Lariam while in Iraq,” Browne said, referring to the drug’s brand name. “We just don’t have a complete set of medical records for that period (in Afghanistan). “He (Bales) can’t help us. He just says he took ‘whatever they gave me.’”

Bales pleaded guilty to the killings last month. A jury will decide in August whether the soldier is sentenced to life with or without the possibility of parole.

Browne declined to say whether he would raise Bales’ use of mefloquine as a possible contributing factor to his crimes.

The lawyer said he had no indication that the pharmacist’s notification was filed by anyone with direct knowledge of Bales’ use of the drug in Afghanistan. Army officials have not commented on whether Bales took mefloquine in Afghanistan, citing confidentiality laws that protect a patient’s records.

Bales, an Ohio native and father of two from Lake Tapps, slipped away from his remote southern Afghanistan outpost at Camp Belambay early on March 11, 2012, and attacked compounds in nearby villages.

Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were piled and burned. The slayings drew such angry protests that the U.S. temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan.

More in Local News

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Front Porch

EVENTS Teen Night at the Schack The next free Teen Night is… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Most Read