OKLAHOMA - Veterans who suffer from PTSD and are convicted of crimes may soon receive less time in prison.
A new PTSD law goes into effect November 1st.
And, at least one Oklahoma family is hoping a judge will take it into consideration even before November.
“He started having nightmares, flashbacks, blackouts. Eventually, he started medicating with drugs and alcohol,” said attorney Ed Blau.
Blau is talking about his client, Brian Fletcher.
Seeing him in orange was surreal for family members who knew nothing other than the marine who served multiple tours in Iraq.
“Mr. Fletcher has been diagnosed by several physicians with having both PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from his time in combat,” Blau said.
In April 2014, Fletcher was accused of brutally beating his wife inside their Seminole County home.
The DA charged Fletcher with more than a dozen crimes.
He’ll be sentenced on a no contest plea next week.
“He has no recollection of it. For you to plead guilty, you have to say you knowingly did something,” Blau said.
The new PTSD law allows Oklahoma judges to consider the mental illness when deciding a prison sentence for a veteran.
That concerns advocates for domestic violence victims.
“We are worried, because what we see is that, in our state culture, unfortunately, victims are frequently held to a higher standard and perpetrators are frequently given passes,” said YWCA Director of Shelter Operations Lauren Garder.
For Fletcher, prosecutors want life in prison.
“I believe that to put him in prison for the rest of his life would be a gross injustice. It would not be fair to him, and it would not be fair to the hundreds of thousands of other veterans who have gone through what he went through,” Blau said.
Fletcher’s wife has moved out of state, and we were unable to reach her.
Fletcher’s hearing is August 26.