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Jury doesn't buy former Army medic's PTSD-related plea

An ex-Army medic appeared lucid and coherent moments after slamming his pickup truck into a car, despite defense claims that he was temporarily insane because of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a juror.

Andrew Marsh, 46, was convicted of 10 of 12 charges Wednesday, including the most serious charges of child abuse resulting in death, vehicular homicide and careless driving resulting in the death of Jamie Steckler, 13, in September 2013.

Marsh was diagnosed with PTSD after he suffered a traumatic brain injury when a bomb hit his Humvee in 2006. Memories of treating a 6-year-old girl who died from a gunshot to the head were among the experiences that haunted him the most.

But the defense offered weak evidence that PTSD made Marsh temporarily insane Sept. 23, 2013, when he barreled down U.S. 85/87 at 75 mph, one juror said.

"Mr. Marsh, immediately after the accident, was coherent," said John Schnake, a Gazette employee who was on the jury. "He knew where he was, he knew he had caused the accident. There was not enough or clear enough evidence submitted in the trial for us to go with the insanity plea."

The instructions 4th Judicial District Court Judge Scott Sells gave to the jury to guide their deliberations also played a major factor in the decision, Schnake said. Legally, with the evidence presented to it, the jury had no choice but to convict, he added.

Although pleading not guilty by means of PTSD-caused insanity is rare, defense attorney Dennis Hartley said he was surprised Marsh was convicted.

A psychiatrist who testified on behalf of the defense reached a similar conclusion to one who testified for the prosecution, Hartley said.

"But don't forget, a lot of people don't buy insanity when you've got somebody that's clearly insane," Hartley said.

Marsh will be sentenced April 9. His bond has been revoked pending sentencing.

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Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362

Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos

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©2015 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Visit The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at www.gazette.com

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