Friday, February 15, 2008

Military duty adds to strains of domestic violence

"....William Edwards easily slipped off base, skipping his anger-management class, and drove to his wife’s house in the Texas town of Killeen. He waited for her to step outside and then, after a struggle, shot her point-blank in the head before turning the gun on himself."

"Yet just as the Defense Department undertook substantial changes, guided by a Congressionally chartered task force on domestic violence that decried a system more adept at protecting offenders than victims, the wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq began."

"Take the case of Sgt. Jared Terrasas. The first time that he was deployed to Iraq, his prosecution for domestic violence was delayed. Then, after pleading guilty, he was pulled out of a 16-week batterers intervention program run by the Marine Corps and sent to Iraq again. Several months after Sergeant Terrasas returned home, his 7-month-old son died of a brain injury, and the marine was charged with his murder."

“The more trauma out there, the more likely domestic violence is,.." "The Times examined several cases in which mental health problems caused or exacerbated by war pushed already troubled families to a deadly breaking point."

"Multiple deployments eroded Sergeant Trevino’s marriage and worsened his mental health problems until, in 2006, he killed his wife, Carol, and then himself.
The military declared his suicide “service related.”

"Within a six-week period in 2002, three Special Forces sergeants returned from Afghanistan and murdered their wives at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Two immediately turned their guns on themselves; the third hanged himself in a jail cell. A fourth soldier at the same Army base also killed his wife during those six weeks"

"The military tracks only homicides that it prosecutes, and a majority of killings involving service members are handled by civilian authorities."

"John P. Galligan, a retired Army colonel who served as a military judge at Fort Hood and now represents military clients in private practice, said he, too, had seen a “substantial” increase in military domestic violence cases in his area.

“Sometimes I just sit and scratch my head,” he said."
full story
hit tracker