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Man claims he was 'not himself' at time of soldier's murder

When a person enlists in the military, especially during a time of war, they do so with the realization that they may have to give their life. But recently, two soldiers made sacrifices neither had anticipated.

One of the soldiers was convicted of the unpremeditated murder of the other soldier. His sentence is life in prison with the possibility of parole in 20 years. The convicted Colorado soldier claimed remorse in his trial, but neither that nor his murder defense strategy saved him from the severe prison sentence.

The defense focused on the argument that pills the defendant had taken caused him to kill his fellow soldier. He claims the pills had a hallucinogenic effect and he was not able to stop himself. He confessed the crime to a friend, and when he was found it was after an apparent suicide attempt.

While the defense admitted that some jail time was warranted, they attempted to convince the court that life imprisonment was too much. The jurors did not agree and the life sentence was dealt. Though the sentence is harsh, the conviction of unpremeditated murder is less severe than the potential premeditated murder conviction sought by the prosecution.

Military service takes a larger toll on some soldiers than others. Many have a hard time dealing with their experiences either during their time serving or afterward. The man convicted of the crime had been injured in Afghanistan and a medical board for the Army had signed off on his retirement before the attack. The soldier's father also states that he believed that his son was not himself when he took the life of a fellow soldier.

Having served in the military and gone through hardship, however, doesn't generally excuse a person from being convicted of a crime. Anyone, no matter his circumstances and background, must work with a criminal defense attorney who he trusts in order to have the best chance at the best outcome.

Source: Colorado Springs Gazette, "Carson soldier sentenced to life in January Slaying" Jakob Rodgers, Dec. 13, 2012

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