"This is not him. It's not him"
In her first public interview, Kari Bales told NBC's Matt Lauer on The Today Show today that she can't believe her husband - Joint Base Lewis-McChord Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, - could have done the crimes for which he's accused.
Lauer asked her about the fateful day when she received word of the tragedy in which civilians, including children, lost their lives in their own homes. Here's part of the transcript of the interview:
Bales: I saw 38-year-old staff sergeant, and I don't think there are very many of those, and I probably prayed and prayed that my husband wasn't involved. And then, I received a phone call from the Army saying that they would like to come out and talk to me. And I was relieved, because when you get a phone call, you know that your soldier is not deceased.
Lauer: Can you remember what they said?
Bales: They held my hand and they just said that perhaps, you know, they thought that he had left the base, and gone out and perhaps killed the Afghan civilians, and that was really the only sentence, and I just started crying.
She went on to say that her husband loved children, saying that he was a big kid himself.
She also said that there weren't any signs, even before he was deployed to Afghanistan on his fourth tour, that Bales suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other mental condition that could have triggered the alleged attack.
Robert Bales - who's being held in pre-confinement at Fort Leavenworth, KS - was formally charged with 17 counts of murder last week, as well as six counts of murder and aggrevated assault.
The killings have sparked protests and calls for swift justice worldwide as the U.S. is at a critical point in determining its role in Afghanistan. It could be months, however, before Bales begins a military trial.
As for his wife, today's interview marked her first public appearance and the most detailed account of what she went through in the hours after the attack.