LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28 A groundbreaking verdict for accused Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was decided in Canyon City, Oregon on October 19 when former soldier Jesse Bratcher, on trial for murder, was found guilty by reason of insanity. It was the first trial in the U.S. where a Veteran's PTSD was successfully considered to mitigate the circumstances of a crime.
Dr. William Brown and Dr. Robert Stanulis from The Bunker Project, who work on Veteran defense cases throughout Oregon and Washington, provided research and testimony for Bratcher's attorney who argued that his PTSD and the influence of the Military Total Institution shaped his actions in the killing of Jose Ceja Medina. Bratcher believed his girlfriend had been raped by the man he shot to death. Bratcher is VA rated as 100% disabled due to PTSD he developed while deployed in Iraq. Bratcher was a model citizen before joining the Army, with no criminal or juvenile history.
Bratcher strictly adhered to the rules of engagement in Iraq, twice refusing to fire on civilians. There, he witnessed the death of a friend from an IED explosion, which commanders reported drastically changed Bratcher's mental state.
Dr. Brown is a Vietnam Veteran and college professor who dedicates time to assisting defense cases of Veterans. He teaches Criminology at Western Oregon University.
"This is a significant decision, for Jesse and for Vets around the country, who were law abiding citizens before they went to war and who have been accused of crimes since returning home," said NVF President Shad Meshad, who consulted with Project Bunker on the case. "The military and the VA have not done enough to diagnose soldiers and Veterans with PTSD and provide them with needed counseling and support to ease their readjustment to civilian life."
Shad Meshad has been working with Veterans since 1970. He was a Medical Service Officer during the Vietnam War, where he counseled soldiers who suffered from psychological and emotional problems resulting from their experiences in combat, including what would later become known as PTSD. The NVF is a national nonprofit, non-governmental organization dedicated to bettering the lives of veterans and their families. For more information on the case, visit http://www.nvf.org/blog/item/50.
SOURCE National Veterans Foundation