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Right or Wrong: Army Veteran to be Executed Despite PTSD from Vietnam

Posted by on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:03 AM
  • 5 Replies

Army Veteran to be Executed Despite PTSD from Vietnam

A Vietnam veteran is set to be executed in Georgia for killing a sheriff's deputy despite his lawyers pleading that he was suffering from mental illness directly caused by his service to the country. In 1998, Andrew Howard Brannan, now 66, was pulled over for speeding in Laurens County, Georgia. What started as a routine traffic stop ended with a bizaare-acting Brannan shooting 22-year-old deputy Kyle Dinkheller.

Brannan, who was a decorated Vietnam vet diagnosed with PTSD and considered "100 percent disabled" at the time of the traffic stop, shot the officer nine times. The deputy pulled him over for speeding and then asked him to take his hands out of his pockets.

Instead, dash cam footage caught Brannan dancing around, waving his arms, cursing, and saying, "Shoot me, shoot me" and "I'm a goddamn Vietnam vet."

He repeatedly rushes at the officer in a threatening manner and it's amazing he wasn't shot on the spot (many would say a black man would have been!).

The cop gives him innumerable chances. Finally, Brannan goes to his truck, and calmly gets a gun. Again, the cop screams numerous times for him to drop the weapon.

Then he begins shooting.

The jury rejected the insanity defense at his 2000 trial, and sentenced him to death.

Brannan volunteered for the Army in 1968. He was a Forward Observer on the Laotian border. A vet buddy testified that this was a highly dangerous position, though others disagree with this.

Despite being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, this was never brought up in his first trial. One of Brannan's current attorneys, Brian Kammer, who has been defending vets for 20 years, says he has never seen a case where combat trauma at the time of a crime wasn't taken under consideration, let alone led to a death penalty.

At the time of the shooting, Brannan had diagnoses of PTSD as well as bipolar disorder. Yet he was not taking medication when he danced around and shot the deputy. He had no criminal record before that.

In 1998, PTSD wasn't considered that big of a deal, and even the prosecutor said, "Everybody's got a little bit of PTSD." That view has largely changed since then.

There is no doubt that Dinkheller deserved to live a full life. He had a young daughter at the time he was killed for only doing his job. She grew up without a dad.

But Brannan definitely seemed crazed during the traffic stop. Was it really PTSD from his service 30 years before that caused him to act so maniacally? When you see how many chances that officer gave him, it just breaks your heart.

It's too late for Brannan now. He has exhausted all of his appeals. What a tragedy all the way around.

Was this the right sentence?

Do you think his PTSD should have been heard in court?

Here is the video of Dinkheller murder. Be warned, it is violent and very disturbing:


by on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:03 AM
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Replies (1-5):
gonecrazi
by Silver Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:30 AM

 It should have been brought up in his first trial. I think his sentence is severe.

atlmom2
by Susie on Jan. 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Torn here.  Just because he had PTSD does that mean he wasn't of a sound mind when he killed the officer?  If he was that crazy he should have been put away years ago to me.  He shouldn't have been allowed to own a gun at all with PTSD.  Someone failed there allowing him to have a gun in the first place.  No one with mental illness should own a gun.  Sadly, this officer should have shot first but the way things are now, officers are going to be shot more because they will be leary of shooting someone and getting a murder charge against them.  I feel we have started a slippery slope that isn't good. 

EireLass
by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 5:55 PM
So much wrong with this. At 2nd command, the officer should have approached and cuffed. After first call of 'put the gun down', the officer should have shot to kill. A gun pointed in your direction is a definate life threat.
PTSD is not a defense. If it was, with someoneowho has it to that degree, he wouldnt be owning a gun or driving a vehicle.
marchantmom06
by Silver Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 6:05 PM
That's not PTSD, he intentionally went after that man not once, not twice but three times. The guy was shooting to kill. Hearing the cop scream in agony over and over and then stop breathing and the guy calmly getting in his truck and driving away. He should have been put to death 15 years ago.
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Why123
by Nancy on Jan. 15, 2015 at 9:52 AM

If he was that much of a threat to himself and others, he should have never been allowed to have a gun or a driver's license for that matter.  I don't believe he should be allowed to go free.  He did kill that young man.

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