No one will be able to pinpoint exactly what made an American staff
sergeant allegedly massacre 16 Afghan civilians, but the facts
surrounding the senseless killing spree will loom large in his
Last night, the unnamed soldier's attorney, John Henry Browne, confirmed to CNN that
his client could face the death penalty, which will mean extenuating
circumstances will play a major role in court. Browne and U.S. officials
have begun surfacing details about the 30-something father of two,
including his mental state and the developments leading up to the
massacre. Here were the cocktail of forces weighing on the solider: Alcohol
It's not something you think of as a determinant of homicidal behavior, but a U.S. official, speaking on background to Bloomberg
morning, says "the drinking, a violation of regulations governing U.S.
troops in combat zones, may have been what sent [him] over the edge."
It's not clear how much he had imbibed before the incident but senior
American officials tell The New York Times
two other soldiers drank with him on the night of the shootings who
will now face "disciplinary action." The day before the rampage, The Washington Post
that the solider saw his friend's leg blown off and many of the
soldiers at the base were affected by the incident. Pushing back against
U.S. officials, the soldier's attorney denied alcohol use was a factor.