The US soldier accused of shooting dead 16 Afghans had been injured twice while serving in Iraq and was unhappy about going for another tour of duty, a lawyer has said.
John Henry Browne said the soldier - who has not been named - had already completed three tours in Iraq.
He also said the accused had witnessed his friend's leg blown off the day before the killings. Sunday's shootings have placed new strains on the US in Afghanistan, says BBC News.
The soldier is from the Seattle area and asked to be represented by Mr Browne when he was taken into custody, the lawyer said.
Mr Browne said he had met the staff sergeant's family, and, unless the soldier is returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the next few days, he will travel to meet the soldier wherever he is in custody. The lawyer declined to release the soldier's name, which the US Army has withheld. "Everybody is worried about the safety of his family, and I am honouring that," Mr Browne said. The soldier is suspected of going on a shooting rampage in villages near his base in southern Afghanistan early on Sunday, killing nine children and seven other civilians and then burning some of their bodies, according to Sydney Morning Herald.
The suspect was flown out of Afghanistan Wednesday evening to what officials describe as a pretrial confinement facility in Kuwait. Officials have anonymously described him as a father of two who has been in the military for 11 years. He has served three tours in Iraq and began his first deployment to Afghanistan in December. A congressional source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said the suspect was with the Second Battalion, Third Infantry Regiment of the Third Stryker Brigade Combat Team before being assigned to a village stability operation near the villages where the attack took place.
Browne said he has handled only three or four military cases. The soldier will also have at least one military lawyer, informs Boston Globe.