Ryan Broderick, an Army war veteran, on Thursday will seek mercy from a federal judge who has the power to set him free.
Broderick, 31 of Fayetteville, has been in jail since January after making a threatening call to the VA for help managing his persistent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sleep-deprived and frustrated with the lack of care the VA had offered, Broderick threatened to shoot doctors and nurses at the VA medical center in Fayetteville if he didn’t get help.
“I was just trying to get help,” Broderick said in an interview last month. “I had no intentions of hurting anyone.”
Broderick was prepared to take his case to a jury this week. Instead, the U.S. Attorney’s office invited him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. The deal spared Broderick the uncertainty of a possible felony conviction that would have jeopardized his service in the Army Reserves and marred his military record.
Now, the most prison time Broderick faces is eight additional months. Senior U. S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt could decide the time he has spent in jail represents enough punishment.
Britt showed his displeasure with Broderick’s case in court Monday. He questioned prosecutors about why they had not extended Broderick some alternative punishment, such as a diversion program that would have guaranteed psychiatric help and spared him a felony charge.
When Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Katherine Burnette asked for 60 more days to prepare for a sentencing hearing, Britt bristled.
Britt called the four months Broderick has already spent in jail a “considerable amount of time.”
The hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday.
Read more about Broderick’s story here.