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Army vet could be jailed for breaking VA computer monitor in frustration over care

Vans line up at the VA Hospital. (David Lassman | [email protected]/TNS)

An Auburn military veteran could spend months in jail after admitting he struck a Veterans Affairs computer monitor in frustration over care.

Joey Edgbert, 59, faces the possible jail sentence because he damaged federal government property, a crime punishable by up to a year in jail, according to court records.

What exactly happened during the Nov. 23, 2020 appointment with a nurse practitioner remains in dispute. The practitioner accused Edgbert of jumping off an exam table and aggressively approaching the nurse, causing the nurse to retreat backwards into his chair in a defense position, according to the criminal complaint.

Edgbert then is accused of kicking the nurse practitioner in the ankle before taking a swing with his hand at a 17-inch computer monitor, destroying the screen and hitting the practitioner in the process.

But Edgbert’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Randi Bianco, maintained that he was frustrated at a mistake in his file that prevented him from getting a needed shoulder surgery that was causing him severe pain. When Edgbert pointed out the mistake, the nurse practitioner wouldn’t listen, Bianco wrote in court papers.

Edgbert maintains that he did not kick the nurse practitioner and only slapped at the monitor in frustration and accidentally hit the nurse practitioner in the process.

Edgbert had been depressed since losing his job due to the shoulder injury in early 2020, Bianco wrote. He was involuntarily held in a psychiatric hospital two times last year. When released, Edgbert believed that he would finally get the shoulder surgery he needed.

But an error in his medical history reported that he had blood clotting issues that he didn’t have, Bianco continued.

“That was the last straw,” Bianco wrote. “The nurse practitioner refused to listen to him, and he lashed out at the computer and accidently hit the nurse practitioner.”

Federal sentencing rules suggest that Edgbert should face anywhere from no jail time up to 6 months in jail, to be determined by a judge.

Bianco wrote that she believed one year on probation would be a fair sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Southwick has not yet filed his sentencing recommendation yet with the court.


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