Kern Gold Empire
By Tabatha Mills
Published 05/11 2016
"Derek Connell is a highly decorated Iraq War vet whose experience in Iraq caused him all kind of medical and mental conditions and his thanks he got for serving on the front in Iraq was a total failure by the Veteran's Administration to take care of his problems," said Paul Cadman.BAKERSFIELD, Calif.
But here's the thing, according to Dick Taylor, the Director of the Kern County Veteran Service Department, Connell is not receiving any veteran benefits and has never walked into the Kern County office.
The man accused of killing his mother and stepfather pleaded not guilty, his attorney stating PTSD is to blame.
Derek Connell, 29, faces two counts of first-degree murder after officers were called to his parent's home in northwest Bakersfield and found them lying in pools of blood.
His attorney said Connell is a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and was failed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
We're checking with Veterans Affairs about Connell's service in the Army and his benefits, so far what we're not finding is very telling, according to one local veterans advocate.
Dressed in paper clothing, Connell appeared to be on suicide watch as he sat in court for arraignment Wednesday afternoon.
His attorney asked him to face the wall in an attempt to block our cameras.
Connell pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.
On April 30, police were called to a home on Lily Pad Court where they found Connell attempting to leave.
His mother, Kim Higginbotham, and his step-father, Christopher Higginbotham dead inside.
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