Legal twist reconnects 2 sailors: attacker and victim
By Dianna Cahn
Published: December 20, 2013
It was a bizarre and horrific scene: a sailor going berserk in the galley of a Navy barge at a local shipyard and slashing the throat of a shipmate.
The delusional violence in March 2007 landed one man in prison and the other in an operating room. It also trapped the two sailors in a prism of legal turns that continue to this day.
After two trials and more than five years in prison, the attacker, Seaman Richard Mott, has been on duty at Norfolk Naval Station since September. His conviction for attempted murder was set aside this summer, after he had been paroled.
Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, Mott is monitored daily to ensure he takes his medications. His supervisors at the naval station say his illness is under control.
The victim, Jose Garcia, sits at home in Kansas, embittered by constant pain and post-traumatic stress disorder that has been, at times, debilitating. He blames the Navy for forcing him to relive his nightmare and leaving him to fall through the cracks when he needed help most.
"I feel like they care more about what's happening to the other guy," Garcia says. "No one has checked on me at all. The only time I've ever gotten a call is if they need something from me."
Neither man was on active duty in July, when the appeals court handed down its ruling, but the decision has brought attacker and victim back in the Navy's reach for one final legal and financial twist.
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