Army veteran gets 30 years for trying to kill girlfriend

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — An Army veteran who survived a deadly 2004 attack in Baghdad and spoke about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on “60 Minutes” was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for trying to kill his girlfriend in Severn last winter.

Jarob Derringer Walsh, 30, pleaded guilty in September to attempted second-degree murder before Judge William C. Mulford II in county Circuit Court in Annapolis.

“I don’t see this as a case of how we treat our veterans ...” Mulford said. “I see this as a case of how we treat victims of domestic violence and how we treat those who abuse women. And that’s what you are — someone who abuses women.”

The case stems from a violent attack in Severn on Dec . 10.

Walsh was living with his then-girlfriend in her grandmother’s basement apartment. The woman’s 14-year-old daughter was away at a sleepover and Walsh had gone to a bar with friends, leaving his girlfriend behind. They exchanged heated text messages about Walsh’s drinking.

The woman awoke about 4:30 a.m. to find Walsh ripping a curtain rod off the doorway.

Prosecutors said Walsh struck his girlfriend in the face, kicked her into a closet wall, then repeatedly kicked, beat and stomped her all over her body. Twice during the attack he put his girlfriend in a chokehold, causing her to lose consciousness.

When she came to, she was covered in blood. Walsh said they both needed to die and that he wanted a piece of glass to slit her throat.

Walsh found a piece of glass and wrapped it in a cloth. He told her to sit on the bedroom floor and he’d make it quick.

The woman asked to go to the bathroom. He took the woman to the bathtub, washed off the blood and then gave her Advil and Tylenol PM.

At Monday’s hearing, the victim said she has four metal plates in her face. She now has to wear glasses and her left eye is now two millimeters back into her skull.

A single mother, she already was living paycheck to paycheck. She lost her job after missing work to recover from her injuries. The loss of income has forced her to stay in the basement apartment where she was attacked. She said she is literally living in her own crime scene.

“The carpet, walls and ceiling of my home are still stained with my blood,” she said.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” in 2004, Walsh said he has had trouble controlling his temper since surviving a deadly attack in Baghdad.

Walsh reportedly survived an attack on a 26-truck convoy hauling an emergency supply of fuel to Baghdad International Airport during Operation Iraqi Freedom II in spring 2004. Walsh, then assigned to the 724th Transportation Company, was shot in the foot.

Walsh said doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Defense attorney Michael May said his client was on a myriad of medications and drank alcohol to numb the pain.

Cecil Byrd, executive director of the National Association of Concerned Veterans, said Walsh “dropped through the cracks” and did not receive the psychiatric treatment he should have gotten at Walter Reed.

But Assistant State’s Attorney Pamela Alban said Walsh’s temper got him into trouble well before he joined the Army.

She said that while investigating the case, she received calls from two other women who said Walsh attacked them.

In one case, Walsh attacked his then-fiancee and mother of his child out of state, Alban said.

In 2005, he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in Frederick County. In that case, Walsh choked a woman at a restaurant in front of a crowd during a party. He received a suspended sentence of 18 months. After violating probation, he was sentenced to the remaining eight-and-a-half years.

Alban said Walsh was paroled “very quickly.” The latest charges called for his parole to be revoked and he was ordered to serve the remainder of the time.

His prior record includes theft, domestic violence, second-degree assault, damage to property and multiple probation violations.

Alban called Walsh an extreme manipulator whose victims didn’t see him coming.

“By the time they find out, it’s too late ...” she said. “Your honor, he’s not treatable.”
 

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