The U.S. Army said Wednesday it will seek the death penalty against the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn rampage in March, a decision his lawyer called "totally irresponsible."
CINCINNATI - New information is coming forward about a soldier who grew up in Ohio and is suspected in the murder of 16 Afghan civilians.
NewsChannel5's Cincinnati Scripps station WCPO has learned about previous crimes allegedly committed by Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is suspected of carrying out a nighttime attack on two Afghan villages that left 16 people dead, including nine children. Formal charges are expected to be filed within a week for Bales' involvement in the incident, according to the Associated Press.
Just one year before entering the military, Bales -- a Norwood, Ohio, native -- was accused of stealing money from an Ohio couple in an elaborate scheme.
While working as a financial advisor, Bales was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million to the Liebschners, who reside in Columbus, according to documents from the National Association of Securities Dealers and FINRA.
WCPO spoke with the Liebschners on the phone Monday morning. They say Bales has never paid back the money he allegedly took from them.
Bales was never charged criminally, but the arbitration was filed in May 2000, just one year before Bales enlisted in the military. It was resolved in 2003.
Bales never made an appearance at a scheduled hearing for the arbitration. The Liebschners say that's because they could never find Bales after accusing him of taking their money.
The arbitration found that Bales engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments.
Mrs. Liebschner said that her husband was ill, so she decided to sell some of their stocks through Bales' company to pay for medical fees.
She says that's when Bales started pocketing their money.
Gary Liebschner wouldn't comment any further on the arbitration, or say what he thought about the Afghanistan murders Bales is suspected to be involved with.
He did say it was hard to recognize the man accused of taking their money through Bales' Army helmet, but he said it didn't take long to realize it was the same person.
In 2003, Bales was ordered to pay $637,000 as compensatory damaged, plus interest at the Ohio statutory rate of 10 percent until the date of payment in full, $637,000 as punitive damages, $216,500 as attorney's fees, $375 to reimburse the Liebschners' filing fee, and several other small damages.
Seven other individuals and companies are listed in the arbitration and accused of the same charges.
Bales is meeting with his attorney for the first time on Monday. For more information about Bales' most recent charges, go to http://5.wews.com/Tjo