He is accused of a horrific and brutal massacre -- the slaughter of innocent civilians, including women and children, in their homes in two Afghan villages.

The accusations are met with bewilderment from those who know U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales -- a man who, despite bearing scars from wounds he received in three previous tours in Iraq, remained passionately committed to serving his country and cared deeply for others.

"Regardless of what happened, Bobby has been changed forever," said Bob Durham, who knew Bales when he was growing up in Ohio. "If the Bobby that I knew ever gets well, comes back to it, and realizes what has happened, and realizes that children and women were killed, I don't think he can live with it. He'll never be the same. He's such a great person ... that crushes me."