Jesse Bratcher: Iraq Vet Uses PTSD As a Court Defense
Jesse Bratcher, 1 soldier diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was found guilty by reason of insanity for murdering a man he believed had raped his girlfriend. The Jesse Bratcher case marks the first time a veteran has successfully used PTSD as a defense that would mitigate his crime.
Doctors with the Bunker Project provided evidence that Bratcher's PTSD influenced his actions in the killing of Jose Ceja Medina. Bratcher has been diagnosed with PTSD with a 100% disabled rating.
According to his lawyers, Bratcher's history prior to his time in the military showed no violent behavior. After serving in Iraq, where he witnessed the death of a friend, Bratcher has struggled with PTSD.
When Jesse returned from Iraq, his grandparents noticed a significant difference in his behavior. The sweet, easy-going boy they had raised was now prone to angry outbursts. He had trouble sleeping. He spent days sleeping in the woods and set up perimeters and establishing fields-of-fire, where he carried, slept with, and maintained his AK-47.
Jesse Bratcher was seeking treatment for PTSD when his girlfriend told him that she had been raped. In an angry rage, Bratcher ended up killed Jose Ceja Medina, the man who Bratcher's girlfriend accused of raping her.
Bratcher's lawyer successfully argued that his experiences in Iraq made him legally insane at the time of the crime. The jury agreed, finding Bratcher guilty by reason of insanity.
The Jesse Bratcher case might open the door for other veterans to use PTSD as a defense in court.
"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."