AP photo: Civilian attorney James Culp, left, walks with Pfc. David Lawrence as they take a break from proceedings at a military court hearing at Fort Carson, Colo., on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 in Denver.
Here is an update on the trial of a US soldier diagnosed by the US military as suffering from PTSD and schizophrenia whom the US military nonetheless put on trial for murdering a Taliban commander in US custody. New details below include some of the factors that just might have contributed to his battle stress -- seven fellow soldiers who were killed around him, including his chaplain.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The fate of an Indiana soldier accused of murdering a Taliban commander in U.S. custody has been decided in a plea deal with the U.S. Army.
Army Pfc. David Lawrence of Lawrenceburg, Indiana will be sentenced to 12 ½ years with a minimum of ten years at Leavenworth. He could be eligible for parole in four years. The deal was just reached with the judge at Fort Carson, Colorado this afternoon.
I-Team 8 launched an investigation into case after Lawrence was diagnosed with PTSD and schizophrenia while deployed in Afghanistan.
As part of the plea deal, he pleads guilty to killing a Taliban prisoner last year in Afghanistan.
Lawrence requested help from military psychologists after seven of his fellow soldiers were killed, including a chaplain he had become close to. The Army's own military psychiatrists concluded he was schizophrenic and suffered post traumatic stress disorder at the time.
"It may be the first time in the history of the U.S. Army that in a murder case the army’s own experts have ruled the accused was not criminally responsible,” his attorney, James Culp, told 24-Hour News 8 anchor Karen Hensel in February.
And the Army tried him just the same.
This deal brings a "substantially" reduced sentence for the killing. The deal will spare Lawrence from a minimum life sentence without parole. The deal also will spare the U.S. Army from controversy over locking up the 20-year old for life after their own doctors diagnosed him with PTSD.
Is it now considered non-controversial for the US military to lock up a 20-year-old soldier with diagnosed mental illness for 12 and 1/2 years?