Former Army Captain charged with robbery

December 8, 2008 7:24:39 PM PST
A West Point graduate who became a decorated Army Captain is now on trial in San Jose.

He's charged with armed robbery, but his lawyer says his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and should not be held responsible for his actions.

Former Army Captain Sargentt Binkley looked fit and healthy on the opening day of his trial for armed robbery. He has been in a court-approved rehab program for a year.

"He has his self-esteem back. He's taking classes to become a drug counselor. It just couldn't have worked out better," said Ed Binkley, the sergeants' father.

The decorated West Point graduate who served in Bosnia and Honduras is charged with robbing a Walgreen's pharmacy in Mountain View in 2006. San Mateo County authorities have also charged him with robbing another Walgreens that same year.

In a jailhouse interview last year Binkley told ABC7 he was addicted to painkillers which military doctors prescribed for a fractured hip. Instead of stealing money, Binkley ordered the pharmacists to give him prescription pain medications.

He said the gun he used was not loaded.

"The man who sits with me in court is not the same man that robbed this Walgreen store," said Binkley's lawyer Chuck Smith.

Smith does not want his client to speak to ABC7 during the trial.

On Monday Smith told the jury Binkley came home from the service suffering from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, which military doctors never diagnosed.

He says his addiction to drugs made it worse.

"That seriously and profoundly affected his ability to reason, his ability to know and understand what he was doing," said Smith.

Binkley said he had become even more despondent when the military lost his records.

"There was a glitch in my paperwork that stated I hadn't served overseas. Yet, in the next column it showed the medals I received for overseas deployment" Binkley said in 2007.

Binkley's lawyer says that because of his client's mental state he should not be held responsible for what he did.

But prosecutor Deborah Medved told the jury it is armed robbery, pure and simple.

"This is an armed robbery. We have armed robberies that happen in this county everyday and they're prosecuted everyday in this county. And, I will prosecute it accordingly," she told ABC7.

If convicted Binkley faces a possible minimum sentence of 12 years in prison.


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