Soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians lived in Jensen Beach

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. - Close friends knew Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales as Bobby.

"We've heard the name but we don't know him personally," Joe Bugel who lives inside of Ocean Towers in Jensen Beach said Saturday.

Sgt. Bales listed his address to the Army as Jensen Beach and records show he lived in condominium 1004 in building B.  A neighbor who wouldn't come outside of the gated condominium complex off of the 9400 block of South Ocean Drive said the condominium has been vacant since February 1st.

"1000. That's up in the penthouse," Bugel said. "We live on the fourth floor."

"It's very ironic that it's tied here, but this is America," Jim Cloud who is staying at the Ocean Towers but lives in Oregon said.

The Ohio native served for 11 years and currently resides in Washington.  Ocean Towers is one listed previous residence as well as Doral in Miami Dade County. 

That's where he is listed as a co-director of Spartan Investments Inc.  It's an inactive company his brother, Mark Bales and Mark Edwards also directed.

"We have a volunteer Army and he apparently volunteered.  This is something he thought he wanted to do," Cloud said. "But the tragedies of war, who knows how it affects people."

The soldier did multiple tours in the Middle East and his attorney says Sgt. Bales didn't want to go to Afghanistan when he deployed in December.  He thought he wasn't ever going to have to do another deployment after doing three in Iraq. 

Bugel feels bad as a fellow veteran.

"I've met guys that were in the Bataan death march they were never the same," he said. "(Sgt. Bales) was stressed out. I feel sorry for him. I'd say we ought to be passionate for the guy even though he killed some human beings, he may not have been himself."

Though Bugel feels bad for the 38-year-old soldier who is now in a private cell at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he really feels for the 16 who are now dead as a result of the rampage.

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