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WTF is all I have to say to this. :angry Even if the guy was having flashbacks which I don't believe at all, he was still fricking drunk! Another report stated his BAC was .22! Give me a break.

Jury acquits veteran haunted by memories

Posted: Aug. 12, 2004
A Hartford man who blamed his memories of the Vietnam War for a drunken driving accident that killed another man has been found not guilty by reason of mental disease.

A Dodge County Circuit Court jury issued that verdict Wednesday for Robert Curry, acquitting him of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in connection with the Oct. 9, 2002, death of Robert Strehlow of Iron Ridge.

Curry, 52, drove his Jeep across the center line of Highway 67 near Iron Ridge and struck Strehlow, 46, who was riding his motorcycle to work.

Instead of facing a prison sentence, Curry, who has three previous convictions for drunken driving, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Mendota Mental Health Institute.

If that evaluation concludes that Curry is not a threat to the public - which both prosecutor Steven Bauer and defense attorney Michael Jackelen said is likely - he will be released from Mendota. Curry will likely be ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment at a non-confined setting, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Milwaukee.

Bauer, who is the Dodge County district attorney, said he was surprised and disappointed with the verdict.

"I cannot explain the verdict from any rational perspective," he said.

Jackelen said the verdict vindicated Curry's claim that he was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder when he drove his Jeep into Strehlow.

Three court-appointed psychiatrists who examined Curry all agreed he showed symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder tied to his Army service in Vietnam.

One doctor, Patricia Jens, concluded that Curry had the ability to tell right from wrong at the time of the accident.

The other two doctors, Frederick Fosdal and John Billinsky, said they couldn't conclude whether Curry had the ability to tell right from wrong when he drove drunk that night.

A fourth psychiatrist, Basil Jackson, serving as a defense witness, concluded that Curry was suffering a flashback and was not responsible for his actions.

Curry, who grew up in Milwaukee, joined the Army in 1970 and arrived in Vietnam in January 1971. He was a technical observer and camera/radar operator in an OV-1 Mohawk airplane that flew reconnaissance missions before his discharge in November 1971.

In court documents, Curry listed seven specific incidents that he says led to his medical condition. Those incidents formed the basis of his criminal defense and his claim for veteran disability benefits.

The Journal Sentinel interviewed veterans who served in Curry's Mohawk units. Their accounts raised doubts about the accuracy of Curry's war stories.

In one case, Curry claimed he was flying in a mission over Laos on Sept. 21, 1971, when the airplane was shot down and the pilot was killed. Curry, then serving with the 225th Surveillance Aviation Company, said he ejected from the plane and was rescued.

However, Orous Ellis, who was then commanding officer of the 225th, said in an interview that the incident never occurred. Ellis, of Chipley, Fla., testified during Curry's trial that he didn't remember the incident. But a retired Hmong serviceman, Xia Dang of Milwaukee, testified that he helped rescue Curry after he was shot down. Hmong people living in Laos were recruited by the Army to rescue downed pilots during the war.

Two other veterans, who served with Curry in the 131st Aviation Company, also testified about doubts they had regarding some of Curry's stories.

But two other veterans provided testimony that supported Curry's claims. One veteran, Jim Eichelberger of Naples, Fla., testified that he helped dig out Curry when a March 20, 1971, mortar attack caused a bunker to collapse, briefly trapping him and three others at the 131st base.

Also, Jackelen presented evidence showing that Curry is considered fully disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
 

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Wow. I don't even know what to say. If he was having that big of problems he shouldn't have been driving. He's using it as an excuse and that's obvious. Bottom line is he killed a motorcyclist (could have been another drive, a pedestrian, a baby in a stroller pushed by her grandmother, doesn't matter) and he should pay for it. Getting a psychiatric eval and getting sent home is what he will probably get though. The system is so fucked up, when a lady can sue McDonalds for millions because she spilled hot coffee on herself, and this guy kills someone and gets off, you know there is something wrong.
 

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Somebody needs to visit him and make sure he never has those memories again.
 

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the fact that he hit a motorcyclist doesn't make a difference. he still killed someone by making a very bad decision. the things is, after he is evaluated, and if he is deemed safe to be in public, the're just gonna let him walk. doesn't seem right to me. commits crime, found not guilty due to insanity, evaluated and found not insane, walks away free?
 

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has a couple DUI's, eh? could he use the insanity plea if he had simply been pulled over for drunk driving? number 3 sends you to court... possibly to lose his license...
 

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This is bullshit, I think all drunk drivers should die, regardless if they kill someone or not.

My grandma and grandpa were killed by a drunk driver. They were visiting family in Oklahoma and were coming home from a local high school basketball game, their favorite sport, and were sitting in the rear of a Lincoln, waiting at a red light. The drunk driver, Estoria Green, hit them going 70 mph, they were at a dead stop at the light. Witnesses said s he didn't even touch the brakes, and there were no skid marks. The rear seat was crushed forward, and pictures show that the trunk now occupies the rear seat. Because of some dumbshits problem, my Grandparents didn't get to see me graduate high school, and they will never see me graduate college, get married, or have kids...

So yeah, if it were up to me, they'd all be killed. When you drive drunk you're taking a chance not only with your life but everyone elses. If you're so eager to kill yourself, just run into a telephone pole, but please don't take others with you, they aren't as ready to die as you...
 

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And we wonder why we have such huge problems with drunk driving in this country?? One reason.. pussy judges. We have laws that aren't enforced.

I read an article in our local newspaper a few months about a repeat offender. After his FOURTEENTH DWI, the man was finally going to serve a YEAR in jail. How crazy is that??? People drive drunk because they know if they're caught no big deal... just a slap on the wrist. Look at how many peoples lives that man put in jeopardy!! I can understand making ONE bad mistake but when it happens two times or more there is NO excuse. The same liberal judges that believe in murdering innocent babies and letting scum like this walk the streets. UnFRIGGIN believable! If it were up to me anyone with two or more convicted DUI's would serve twenty years... PERIOD!
 

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Definitely needs to be stiffer penalties for this kind of crap. Taking away their license really doesn't do much, since they'll probably just drive anyway. He should be in jail, regardless.
 

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True. The judicial system is screwed up big time. No one should be allowed to walk away for taking someone's life, irrespective of who they are and what 'state of mind' they were in. Claiming insanity seems to be the best excuse criminals have to get away with murder. We motorcyclists suffer the most because of laws that dont make sense at all.
 

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I think that judge should take a sanity test.

Hopefully Karma will come around and buddy get's killed by a drunk driver. How ironic would that be? Pisses me off, is there an O.J. club he can join?
 

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This really is disturbing that someone can get off with murder this easily
I agree if you get caught driving drunk once you should get in trouble alot of trouble but if you are a repeated offender I think you should lose your license for atleast 10 years and serve a jail sentence of atleast 1 year
 

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This is sad... sigh. I don't understand how we can let someone like that walk- maybe if he hadn't had the 3 previous convictions- MAYBE- I could see a lesser sentence- but he should be thrown in jail for long time for this.

Where is the accountability in our legal system?
 

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loner
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accountability isn't the American way... not anymore... now everything is everyone else's fault. hell, he probably wouldn't even have been drinking and driving if society hadn't forced him into a position where he felt it was his only way out. takes a village, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I agree with what everyone else is saying, but I want to point out that it isn't that judge that convicts or acquits people, it is a jury. So that means **12** people had to believe that it wasn't the alcohol's fault he was driving on the wrong side of the road, it was his mental condition, or at least his mental condition that forced him to drink and then drive on the wrong side of the road. Unbelievable.
 
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