Sunday, November 13, 2011

PTSD on Trial: Private John Needham

Tuesday's "48 Hours Mystery" Was #1 in Households and Viewers
CBS spins the numbers for Tuesday, June 26.
[via press release from CBS]

CBS News' 48 HOURS MYSTERY TUESDAY (R) was first in households (4.0/07) and viewers (5.66m), while delivering a 1.5/04 in adults 25-54, according to preliminary Nielsen same day ratings for June 26. Compared to last week, 48 HOURS MYSTERY TUESDAY was even in both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49.

The broadcast, which aired on the eve of National PTSD Awareness Day, featured Troy Roberts' emotional report on Pvt. John Needham, who beat to death the woman he loved, 19-year-old Jacque Villagomez. Needham's story started in Iraq where he was severely injured in combat and exposed to multiple IED and grenade attacks. He was later diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Needham's father says the war took a heavy toll on his son, and ravaged his mind and body. From the beginning, Needham took responsibility for Villagomez's death but said he remembered little of the incident. He said that as they argued one night, something inside him snapped. He blamed his brain injury and PTSD for the beating that came next.
Read more At first I thought it took 48 Hours way too long to do a story like this since it happened in 2008.
Original story from 2008
Iraq Vet John Wylie Needham charged with murder
But considering how many more stories this blog has covered in the last 4 years, I'm grateful they reported on it finally.

What should jump out at you is a simple fact. When war comes home inside of them and we don't take care of them, they suffer, so do their families, friends, communities and in the end, this entire nation.

War damaged vet kills girlfriend; PTSD to blame?
Private John Needham and Jacque Villagomez
November 12, 2011 10:50 PM
(CBS News) Produced by Chris Young Ritzen
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. -- "That day and what happened that day is gonna be with me until the day I die. It's something I carry on my conscience every day," John Needham explained. "I just can't believe that this is where my life is right now. When I look back when I was younger, I never see myself at 26 years old being called a murderer."

"I was trained to kill. ...I come home. I can't adjust to regular civilian lifestyle," Needham continued. "I spun out of control. I needed help."

"Unfortunately with the way I was trained, you know to react to threats is to neutralize threats. ...Even with someone I love."

In July of 2009, John Needham was out on bail... but far from a free man.

"I feel like a tagged animal," he said looking down at his ankle bracelet. "This is a constant reminder of what has happened and what is true reality no matter how much I try to hide from it or try and escape from it."

Needham was awaiting trial for a crime he found difficult to comprehend - killing a woman he says he loved.

"You know she was absolutely precious to me. She still is," he said.

Jacqwelyn Villagomez was 19 when she died and had only known John Needham for a few months. She'd been a track star in high school - and was hoping to break into modeling and acting.
read more here

Extra: John Needham interrogation
November 12, 2011 7:30 PM

On Sept. 2, 2008, homicide detectives with the Orange County Sheriff's Department questioned John Needham in the beating death of his girlfriend, Jacqwelyn Villagomez.

Private Needham's war
November 12, 2011 7:45 PM

A young soldier is accused of killing the woman he loves. Was she a casualty of war? Troy Roberts reports.

Extra: A father's mission
November 12, 2011 7:46 PM

Since the death of his son, Michael Needham Sr. has been speaking to audiences throughout the country to promote the John Needham Media Center, a non-profit organization associated with The Veterans Project.

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