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CA Army vet with PTSD sentenced for killing stepfather, wounding four others

PTSD (Jesper Sehested/Flickr)

An Army veteran who was declared legally insane in the 2017 fatal shooting of his stepfather and wounding of four others has been sentenced to a state hospital.

Kyle Holaday, 29, will likely be sent to Atascadero State Hospital where he will receive treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and any other issues.

Holady pleaded no contest on Oct. 21 to one count of second degree murder for killing James Willcoxson, 60, plus three counts of attempted murder. He also pleaded no contest to once count of cruelty to an animal for fatally shooting the family dog.

Judge Arlen Harrell reviewed more than 5,000 pages of medical records, court transcripts and audio recordings before declaring him legally insane.

The judge learned Holaday suffered a traumatic brain injury from multiple improvised explosive devices during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008 and 2011.

He was diagnosed by doctors as having PTSD, anxiety and depression. He also began drinking alcohol to the point of blacking out.

Holaday was also examined by two doctors after he was arrested. Both concluded he was legally insane at the time of the March 24, 2017 shooting.

Had Harrell not declared Holaday legally insane, he would be spending more than 100 years in prison for his crimes.

Jane Boulger, Holaday’s attorney, said she was pleased with the outcome. She pushed hard for the legally insane ruling.

“Because he does not have a chronic illness like schizophrenia, but PTSD, he can be treated,” Boulger said. “I am hopeful for him.”

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Miller said it is unclear how long Holaday may remain at the state hospital. That depends on how well he responds to treatment.

Boulger said if Holaday is able to get out, it won’t happen easily. He will have to undergo multiple evaluations.

“It is a very thorough process,” Boulger said.


© 2019 The Fresno Bee