Army Sgt. Robert Bales Tested Positive for Anabolic Steroids Three Days After “Kandahar Massacre”

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U.S. Army Sergeant Robert Bales used anabolic steroids according to testimony given during pre-trial hearings this week. Bales has been changed by military prosecutors with sixteen counts of premeditated murder, six counts of attempted murder and a single count of wrongfully possessing and using anabolic steroids. Military commanders will use the hearing to determine if the case advances to court martial proceedings.

Matthew Hoffman, a Special Agent with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, testified that Bales tested positive for anabolic steroids in a urinalysis administered three days after the killings. Bales had tested positive for stanozolol metabolites. Stanozolol is more commonly known by its trade name – Winstrol. Stanozolol is a popular steroid used by bodybuilders and athletes.

Bales killed sixteen civilians in the Afghanistan villages of Balandi and Alkozai on March 11, 2012 in what has become known as the “Kandahar Massacre.” Nine of the victims were women or children.

Major Gregory Malson and Captain Matthew Aeisi are Bale’s military defense attorneys. But Karilyn Bales, the wife of Sgt. Bales, has hired John Henry Browne, a high-profile private civilian attorney, to represent her husband.

Browne is a controversial criminal defense attorney who has represented defendants in several high-profile cases. Browne is probably best known for defending serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton “The Barefoot Bandit” Harris-Moore.

Browne is well known for effectively shifting focus away from the serious crimes of his clients and diverting attention to his client’s background and/or the circumstances surrounding his clients’ actions.

Browne has already acknowledged that nothing could justify Bales’ actions in Kandahar. But Browne indicated that his client’s use of anabolic steroids may play a role in the defense strategy.

“Steroid use is going to be an issue in this case, especially where Sgt. Bales got steroids and how he got steroids,” Browne told CNN earlier this year.

Bales’ defense team indicated earlier this year that elite Army special forces members may have provided steroids to Bales in the months preceding the Kandahar Massacre.

Blaming criminal acts on the psychological effects of steroids has been referred to as the “dumbbell defense.” The stage appears to be set in the Bales case for steroids to be demonized with stories of “roid rage”. It’s probably not a question of whether steroids will be blamed but to what extent steroids will be blamed.


Associated Press. (November 7, 2012). Investigator says soldier charged in Afghan massacre tested positive for steroids. Retrieved from