Former Army soldier with ties to Norwood fails to receive presidential pardon in murder case

The former Army Staff Sgt. has been serving a life sentence at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas.

Local man expected to be pardoned by President Donald Trump

NORWOOD, Ohio (FOX19) - Former President Donald Trump pardoned dozens of people, but one of those who did not receive a pardon is a former Army soldier that has local ties.

Supporters of Robert, or “Bob,” Bales, who has ties to Norwood, wanted to see him pardoned and released from prison. The former Army Staff Sgt. has been at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas, according to advocates, where he has been serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Bales, per records, was accused of shooting and killing 16 Afghan citizens, including men, women, and children, in March 2012. At that time, attorneys claimed Bales had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and a traumatic brain injury.

Bales ultimately agreed to plead guilty, reportedly to avoid the death penalty.

Some of Bales’ family members and friends have been pushing for Bales to be freed from prison. They believe the accusations are inaccurate.

The leader of United American Patriots, a non-profit that advocates for veterans, believes Bales’ rights were violated and claims that there were victims who were actually members of the Taliban.

He said he and Bales’ relatives are currently in Kansas expecting Bales to be released.

”We see this all the time in the civilian world. We see the Innocence Project and the ACLU fight for individuals’ rights where there’s individuals sitting on death row in America for doing heinous crimes, but if their rights were violated, then these organizations will fight to make sure that they’re released because it’s the right thing to do,” Retired Lt. Col David Gurfein, the CEO of United American Patriots, said.

Not everyone would be happy to see Bales released. Afghan villagers have reportedly demanded that true justice would be Bales being executed.

Regarding the local connection, friends say Bales was living in Washington state when he was charged but grew up in Norwood where he was captain of the high-school football team. Friends said he also played ball at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

When the pardons were announced early Wednesday, Bales was not one of them.

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