Sunday, January 11, 2015

Vietnam Vet with PTSD on Death Row Seeks Clemency ... Should He Get It?

Family and lawyers of a Vietnam veteran facing execution in Georgia next Tuesday for murdering a deputy sheriff in 1998 are pleading that he be spared because his actions were linked to severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
In clemency papers filed Wednesday, lawyers for Andrew Brannan argue that "our knowledge of PTSD and the frightful toll that it can exact on veterans has grown exponentially as a result of ... wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
This level of understanding, particularly within the public, didn't exist when Brannan stood trial in 2000, they argue.
Andrew Brannan
"It's not right to execute a decorated veteran for a crime that stemmed, without question, from the mental suffering that he incurred from serving his country,'' Brannan lawyer Tom Lundin said in a phone interview.
The killing of Laurens County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Dinkheller during a traffic stop for speeding was captured on a video camera mounted on the officer's patrol car.
The video shows a confrontation quickly escalating with Brannan shouting obscenities, dancing around, daring the officer to shoot and then retrieving a rifle from his pickup truck. A gunfight erupted and a wounded Dinkheller can be heard pleading with Brannan to stop as the veteran reloads and keeps shooting.
Dinkheller, who was 22 and a father-to-be, suffered nine gunshot wounds. Brannan was hit once in the stomach.
Neither the prosecution in the case nor the family of the slain officer had any immediate comment on the clemency request.
Read the rest of the story HERE and watch a police video of the incident:

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