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Jury finds Sargent Binkley guilty on all counts

Original post made on Dec 30, 2008

A West Point graduate and war veteran was found guilty on all counts Tuesday of robbing pain pills from a Mountain View pharmacy at gunpoint.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 4:23 PM

Comments (46)

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Posted by Alison Chaiken
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 30, 2008 at 7:08 pm

What a tragedy. I hope that the recent bad publicity at the VA has led to some improvements at medical facilities.


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Posted by RA
a resident of another community
on Dec 31, 2008 at 6:09 am

I knew Binkley when he was stationed in Kansas. Many things he has said concerning his service is a lie. He is not a war veteran. He did not have PTSD because he was never in a situation that would give him PTSD. In Bosnia he did peacekeeping duty. The situation in Bosnia at the time was very peaceful and non-threatening. In Honduras he was an augmentee staff officer. He DID NOT conduct ambushes or counter drug missions. He mostly rode a desk and went to the beach. BTW, word is he got his injury at the beach.

While stationed in Kansas, Binkley got in serious trouble twice and underwent non-judicial punishment. For you Army veterans, that's an Article 15. He was allowed to resign in lieu of involuntary separation with a general discharge. A general discharge is not the same as an honorable discharge and limits any benefits he may be entitled to with an honorable discharge.

So you see, you cannot believe everything you hear or read. I believe the trial will bring out all the inconsistencies (lies) that Binkley has fed everyone, including his parents.

For the record, I am a West Point grad, combat vet, and have deployed multiple times. Binkley is a disgrace to West Point, the Army, and the country and deserves what he gets. He is playing his friends and family for fools. It disgusts me that he is dragging the Army through the mud because he squandered a privileged life. He had all the advantages and threw it all away.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 31, 2008 at 9:47 am

Thank you, RA for giving us the facts. Newspapers used to have reporters that actually attended trials and followed them. Now all the media does is relay press releases and sound bites from either of two self-defined "sides" of an issue. Luckily we now have online comments like yours, where folks who actually know something about a situation can fill us in.


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Posted by Army Officer
a resident of The Crossings
on Dec 31, 2008 at 9:58 am

Thanks, RA, if even half of what you say is true, then it certainly explains alot about this character. I too am an Army officer and war veteran and agree. I was stationed in Honduras as well and found it to be a very tame environment, nothing even approaching Iraq or Afghanistan. There's worse going on in some of the bad neighborhoods in the Bay Area than there is in Central America

Army officers, especially West Pointers, are held to high standards. This guy was just a bad apple.

BTW, the VA system I've experienced, especially in Palo Alto, is first rate.


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Posted by VT
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2009 at 9:19 am

Retired US Navy here. First off, a real hero would not feel the need to tell people. Most of us do not even want to talk about it. Regardless, he is playing on the "media" which fails this Country in so many ways. I can't think of a single person I know that would draw a weapon on a store clerk for pills. From experience the local V.A. is a solid organization.


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Posted by RA
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:07 am

All I have have detailed above is true. The trial record should show this. Binkley's DD214 would show the General Discharge. I have first hand knowledge of the trouble he got into at Ft Riley. Disobeying orders, false reports, bad judgment, and the list goes on. Bottom line, he was a privileged young man who played the system until it turned against him.


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Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jan 5, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

RA:

We're doing a follow-up story on Binkley and would love to include your perspective, if you are willing to go on the record. If so, please contact reporter Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com. Thanks.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I, too, have been to Honduras after Hurricane Mitch and experienced a different environment. Death in the streets of villages and outside Teguchigalpa (sp)and kidnapping were great concerns. Dismembered stinking bodies surfaced regularly to remind people of the risks associated with interfering with the drug trade. Buses were fired upon. Terraced fields in the mountains grew who-knew what. But you had better stay away.
I am happy to hear that your experience was otherwise.


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Posted by RA
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Don Frances,
I'll go on the record after the trial(s).

RA


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Posted by Dave Hulgrave
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2009 at 3:52 pm

RA,
It sounds like you have a personal vendetta against Sargent, well sit back and smile, his life has been horrible the last 5 years and the years to come don't look very bright. On top of the embarassment and shame, he has already spent almost 2 years in county jail and another year at a drug treatment facility.

Your anonymous comments paint a very negative picture of Sargent. Was he a perfect, "Yes sir. No sir.", soldier? Probably not. He is someone with enormous potential that has a lot of people that care about him. He must have been doing something right for most of his life. He was accepted at West Point, graduated, became an Army Ranger, and was promoted to Captain. Did he make mistakes and bad decisions along the way? I'm sure, like many people, he did.

Sargent and his family aren't asking for a free pass. They are hoping for an outcome that gives him a chance to get treatment, and eventually lead a somewhat normal life. Serving 10+ years in a state prison is not the answer. Unfortunately, with mandatory sentencing laws stripping away judges' power to sentence and the way the DA is choosing to handle this case, a long prison term looks to be in Sarge's future.

As for some of the other comments spawned by your original posting, I guarantee Sargent, his family, and friends take no pleasure in having all of this publicized in the media. The toll this has taken on Sargent and those around him has been devastating. The Santa Clara DA's office is acting like sharks with blood in the water. They see a fairly high profile case that they can easily win. Come election time, they can pound their chest and brag about how tough they are on crime.

Sargent, extremely troubled and in the throws of addiction, walked into a drugstore with an unloaded gun and demanded painkillers. He physically hurt no one. There are people that have done far worse and served far less time in prison. Sargent has been and will be punished, but he deserves a second chance at life.

RA - If you're going to publicly post something this critical of another person, at least put your name on it.

Dave Hulgrave


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Posted by Jon Wiener
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm

second


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Posted by Vets Vote
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2009 at 10:15 pm


If he truly had those experiences he should be given treatment not prison.

Compassion. Thank you.


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Posted by RA
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2009 at 7:28 am

Dave,
I have no vendetta against Binkley. I only want people to know the truth. Binkley has painted a picture that he was injured in combat and that the Army is responsible for his plight by not treating him properly. In fact, he is not a combat vet. He was never in combat. He pulled routine, and fairly safe, duty in Kansas, Bosnia, and Honduras. He was injured off duty while on the beach in Honduras. He resigned in lieu of elimination because of misconduct. He dishonors those vets who actually saw combat and were severely wounded. It strikes me as ironic that there are many vets who were severely wounded and continue to serve honorably in the military or become productive members of the civilian sector, but Binkley gets injured on the beach, forced out of the Army, and then robs two drug stores.

I would fully support leniency if he would not have dragged the Army through the slime for his misdeeds. As for providing my name, that will come after the trials are complete.


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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 8, 2009 at 8:57 am

When you walk into a drugstore with a gun, you had better be prepared for the consequences. The assumption is that it is loaded, and if you direct it at some one, the assumption is that you intend to use it. This guy is obviously no war hero. The DA has no doubt got the official truth stack up against him. If he received a general discharge, that should speak volumes to his military record. Way back when I was in the army, West Pointers were of the privilege class. Ranger school was garuanteed, and they skipped second lieutenant rank. Captain was pretty much automatic.


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Posted by Dave Hulgrave
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Major RA,
Sargent never claimed to be a war hero or injured in combat. He does not blame the Army for his actions and it was never his intent to "drag the Army through the slime." What happened while he was serving in the Army, and after when he tried to get help from the Veteran's Administration, contributed to Sargent's decline into drug addiction and state of mind when committing these crimes.

You are kicking a guy when he is down, there is no need for it.

Dave Hulgrave


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Posted by RA
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2009 at 6:06 am

Dave,
it is obvious that we will never agree. Read the various articles about this case. You believe what you want to believe. I rely on the facts.

Ned, I can assure you that West Pointers are not a privileged class. Many of them come from blue collar families like I did. They are typically held to a higher standard of conduct, though, especially by other West Pointers. I certainly do not know of any West Pointers who skipped the Second Lieutenant rank. We all start as dumb 2LTs.


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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2009 at 8:43 am

RA, my observation was from "way back when I was in the Army..." West Pointers skipped 2nd Lt, but that was changed sometime in the early 80s I believe.


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Posted by RA
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

Ned,

I learn something new every day. I never knew that. I wish I could have skipped 2LT.


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Posted by Company B
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm

RA I understand everything that you are attempting to explain to everyone. The Truth about Binkley!!! I was in his platoon in FT Riley, deplyoyed with him to Bosnia, and have a first hand account for his lack of character. Compared to all deployments post Bosnia we were on vacation! The particular patrol that he claims to be haunted from of the mass grave sites are bogus. I was on that very patrol. We were so far away from the site that we had to watch the geologists with binoculars! There were about 3 or 4 of us that actually went to the grave site just to look at it (by choice) and he was not with us.

The major problem with this entire story is the fact that Binkley is putting a negative spin an all of the good things that we did while in Bosnia. It's also a slap in the face to soldiers who have been to a real war zone in the Middle East that truely suffer from PTSD. When I heard about Binkley robbing those drug stores, I really was not surprised. Binkley was not a good soldier. Binkley was/is a liar and a drug addict and has been for many years. Binkley couldn't have ever been a good soldier because he has never had to work for anything nor has he ever taken responsibility for his actions. Sure the report says that he turned himself in...not true, his father turned him in.

Finally the VA Hospital has flaws as do most hospitals. The VA can not treat addictions,lies, or selfishness. Binkley is going where he has been headed to ever since I've known him!


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Posted by Edward Binkley
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

I normally would not bother to respond to something as petty and low as this, but wow, a couple of you guys are really a piece of work. The reporter for this article spend days in court, interview many of the participants, and listened to hours of testimony, as did Dave for that matter. His facts are accurate, are based on every medical and service record available, and are what the jury was told. Bill and Army Officer, you need to develop better critical thinking skills if you would rather believe some blogger who will not identify himself over a reporter who actually did hear all of the real facts in open court.

RA, there are so many errors in your rant that there is not room enough to list them all. Your language, false claims, and vocabulary are so similar to another e-mail we received from my son's platoon sargeant that I suspect you wrote both of them. This individual,incidently, came to court as a witness and under oath, set the record straight and provided many of the facts that were reported in this article. I look forward to hearing who you actually are after this is over, if you are man enough to come forward, and welcome the opportunity to meet with you, man to man, to discuss this further.


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Posted by Company B
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Ed I really do feel for you and I understand why you would belive your sons claims and claims made by paid medical experts. However, RA is speaking the truth because we were there! We know what really happened in Bosnia more importantly we know what didn't happen. It seems that many people are in denial of the fact that Binkley has a problem that has nothing to do with the Army which is scarey. If his own support base is not listening to the truth then Binkley will always be the drug addict that he is. It's more clear than ever that Binkley is a product of someone who has never taken responsibility for thier actions and has worked for nothing that they have. The only this that he has worked for has landed him where he deserves to be. As far as our former Platoon Sergeant is concerned lets compare. (1) He served the Army honorably for 20+ years. (2) He took all of us to Bosnia and back home without one injury or accident. (3) After Binkley was relieved as platoon leader he trained the new platoon leader to achieve success. I could go on but my point is clear. Although our verbage and vocabulary is not up to your standard or character and service to our country are remarkable. If there are any errors in what I have to say I would be more than happy to educate you on what the true facts are as I have nothing to lose or gain.


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Posted by Edward Binkley
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Company B,

This will be very short and to the point. I was going to request that you identify yourself, just as I did to RA, but that isn't necessary any more, you have already done it for me. In the first sentence of your latest blog, you used the term paid medical experts. You obviously work in the DA's office or are part of the investigating team on this case. I know everyone who was in court on Thursday and that term, which the judge strongly reprimanded the ADA for using, was not reported in any public media. The word relieved also is very instructive in your blog; only ADA Medved used that term. I find it absolutely appalling that our local government has employees that will stoop to this level of smear and character assassination of one of the citizens that they represent. This reflects so clearly on the Office of the Santa Clara DA and reinforces the many stories printed in the Mercury News about the misconduct associated with it. I suspect RA is also a fabrication of your office and the purpose of the many factual errors you presented under both names is now very obvious. If you are going to paraphrase a witnesses' preliminary statement, at least use different vocabulary when you describe something.


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Posted by Company B
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Ed I promise you that I do not word for the DA of this case nor anyone else involved in this case for that matter. I am really a soldier still currently serving in the Army. I recently learned of this case by friends that i served with while stationed at Ft Riley. I would have never responded to any of these articles that I've read but as a proud soldier much of it is disturbing to me. I have moved on from Ft Riley and year after year our Army comes under attack for individual acts that discrace what we stand for. I have lost 3 close friends in the Middle East over the past few years, take a guess what happened to 1 of them. He beat the war twice as he spent two tours in Iraq but he lost a personal war to PTSD. I spent six short months in Bosnia with your son and the rest of Bravo Company. I can tell you that there wasn't a single person that suffered anything remotely close to what we have seen in the Middle East! So again I feel for you and your family and I can understand what you want to believe and not belive. I also feel that I have an obligation to make sure that I do everyting to protect the Army that I love. I appologize if I have offended you in any way. However, just as I was raised and as the Army teaches character defines us and tough love love helps us to remember that.


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Posted by Long Time MV Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm

There's always two sides of the story. One from the inside and the other from the outside. The tragedies and activities that happened cannot be changed. The issue here is to accept or not accept the truth and take responsibility of what happened. You believe what you want to believe. Sometimes truth is hard to accept. We must let go to the fact that no one is perfect. We are only human and make mistakes. But foremost, we must accept responsibility for our actions. The people have spoken.


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Posted by citizen janice e
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 13, 2009 at 2:07 pm

sargent was found not guilty by reason of insanity. I bet ra won't want to identify himself now...


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Posted by Army Officer
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm

It's just a good thing that he is out of the Army. We don't need such troubled and weak leaders. A drinker since high school? PTSD for Bosnia and Honduras? Amazing. It's a good thing he never made it to Iraq. He would have been a danger to himself and his men. I hope he gets the help he needs. Fir those would disagree, just be thankful there are officers and NCOs who can hold it together and get the job done.


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Posted by aaron
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Great to know that our men and women can get the help that they need! It is a great day for this soldier and for America.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 13, 2009 at 3:35 pm

An enlightened jury heard and considerred all of the relevant evidence. They served justice by coming to this verdict.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm

The final verdict is not guilty by insanity. This means that he can get treatment instead of wharehoused in a state prison for 12 or so yeras.


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Posted by JJ
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Regardless of the veracity of RA's claims, the bigger issue in Binkley's trial is whether mandatory minimum sentencing serves the interests of justice. Just as the right to free speech should protect individuals who we may find unpalatable, so should the judicial process protect individuals whose motivations or character we may dislike - and throwing the mandatory minimum book at Binkley made this impossible. Not guilty by reason of insanity is a just outcome, but largely because Binkley was forced to react to the threat of mandatory minimums with the legal options at his disposal.


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Posted by Annabelle Mae
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 13, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The real issue here is the corruption in Santa Clara court system and, more specifically, in the DA's office. Binkley, along with his parents, turned himself in to the authorities. The DA's office should have factored this act into a possible deal. Even the judge in this case thought that Binkley should've been offered a deal. The only conclusion here is that the Santa Clara County DA's office chooses to prosecute cases they believe they can win instead of pursuing truth. Given all of the press about prosecutorial conduct in this county, I have serious reservations about living here.

I am happy for Binkley and his family. Justice was served.


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Posted by former AF officer
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2009 at 10:32 pm

As a former AF officer who served in Bosnia, I can tell you that this case stinks to high heaven. I suspected something was afoul when the local news only showed pictures of Binkley in bdus and not in acus. For those of you who are civilians, battle dress utilities was the field wear for the Army and most of the military until the Iraq War. Due to the lessons learned from the war, each of the services changed their field uniforms to meet the individual needs of each service. In the case of the Army, it was ACUs. That told me that he never served in Iraq. Now that I have read these comments and see that he is claiming Bosnia as the source of his ptsd, my bs tolerance factor has reached a new low. Yes, there were some unpleasant sights that I saw in Bosnia, but the worst that I had to deal with during my time there was boredom. And before you say that I wouldn't know about field operations, I was attached to the Army as an air liason officer. My job was to call in airstrikes for Army units that needed air support. As a result, I accompanied many patrols while I was in Bosnia. This person is scum because he is using the military as an excuse for his poor behavior and not taking ownership for his lack of character to be addicted to drugs. What is even more sad is that he was able to dupe a jury with his line of baloney. I guess that is the result of a society where 95% of the male population has avoided military service.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 15, 2009 at 1:11 pm

There seems to be a misimpression that only Iraq veterans suffer PTSD. I gather this from the preceding comments my service personnel.
In 1979, The US Congress created the Vet Center Program. It was a reaction to the continuing suffering by Viet Nam era veterans who were still experiencing readjustment problems. High on the list of readjustment issues is PTSD.
As time wore on and more wars and conflicts claimed our troops, Congress several times acted, and rightly so, to expand eligibility. Included in the expanded group is "Kosovo/Bosnia - November 20, 1995 to present." I am advised that over 9000 eligible Bosnia veterans have applied for treatment with the VA thus far.
I have not been to Bosnia. But, those who have convinced Congress to extend help to them and their buddies. As a taxpayer, I believe that they deserve the benefits.
Just because someone else reacted differently than you to stimuli does mean that he or she is lying/faking/malignering. They are hurting.
Also, some of the testimony from prosecution witnesses was fantastic. One Army officer spoke as a sea lawyer - out of both sides of his mouth. The jury did not believe him because the military medical records conflicted with his testimony. He just could not know the things he talked about. There were things he should have known about but did not, according to his testimony. And why did he order this injured Captain, who had made known his desire to discharge at the end of his obligation, stand watch after having just completed a rigorous week of military obligations? It is curious that a CO who was on top of things and concerned for the welfare of his command, as this CO testified he was, would order someone who was obviously in pain to do this.
In any event, thank you for your service.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm

There seems to be a misimpression that only Iraq veterans suffer PTSD. I gather this from the preceding comments my service personnel.
In 1979, The US Congress created the Vet Center Program. It was a reaction to the continuing suffering by Viet Nam era veterans who were still experiencing readjustment problems. High on the list of readjustment issues is PTSD.
As time wore on and more wars and conflicts claimed our troops, Congress several times acted, and rightly so, to expand eligibility. Included in the expanded group is "Kosovo/Bosnia - November 20, 1995 to present." I am advised that over 9000 eligible Bosnia veterans have applied for treatment with the VA thus far.
I have not been to Bosnia. But, those who have convinced Congress to extend help to them and their buddies. As a taxpayer, I believe that they deserve the benefits.
Just because someone else reacted differently than you to stimuli does mean that he or she is lying/faking/malignering. They are hurting.
Also, some of the testimony from prosecution witnesses was fantastic. One Army officer spoke as a sea lawyer - out of both sides of his mouth. The jury did not believe him because the military medical records conflicted with his testimony. He just could not know the things he talked about. There were things he should have known about but did not, according to his testimony. And why did he order this injured Captain, who had made known his desire to discharge at the end of his obligation, stand watch after having just completed a rigorous week of military obligations? It is curious that a CO who was on top of things and concerned for the welfare of his command, as this CO testified he was, would order someone who was obviously in pain to do this.
In any event, thank you for your service.


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Posted by Old Friend
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I am an old friend of Sarge's...West Point Classmate, Rugby, etc. He comes from a great family...salt of the earth...couldn't ask for better. He even came home with me and stayed with my family. My mom still prays for him. However, I feel that I have been lied to during this whole process.

Ultimately, I think Sarge is a good guy and a loyal friend. Nobody could argue with that. He was a good friend from when we met until I heard about this story. He is still a good friend.

I met with him both after Bosnia and Honduras, and he seemed fine, although that does not confirm/deny that he didn't have PTSD from these experiences. He seemed completely normal compared to his normal self.

Sarge, however, is a complicated person. He can be racist, violent, etc. His friends always protected him. He was always a loyal friend, though.

My problem now is that he is presented as an American Hero with this great travesty held against him. Sarge clearly has a problem that should be treated. Don't present him as a hero....present him as he is...a guy with a problem. The website claims victory for Vets with PTSD (I don't think Sarge was a vet or had PTSD)...I thought the fight was against minimum sentences and mistreatment of veterans, not that drug addicts are insane.

I hope Sarge gets the help he needs. I feel guilty that I should have done more. I am trying to do more now.



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Posted by Dave
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2009 at 12:23 am

Old Friend,
It is unfortunate that you feel you have been lied to, but I understand your perspective. Sargent does not see himself as a hero and is not seeking sympathy from the world.

I think Sarge and his family would have been happy with a reasonable prison term, treatment for his mental issues, and a lot less publicity. After Sargent's Dad turned him in and Sargent confessed, he was faced with mandatory minimums and a heartless Santa Clara DA's office whose mission is to put people away for as long as possible regardless of the circumstances.

Facing essentially a life ending prison term, Sargent decided the only option was to go to trial. Support came from people that knew Sargent and from current and former members of the military who were interested in the case. People wanted to support Sarge and some also wanted to use his case as a way to generate attention and support for the thousands of veterans who suffer from PTSD. We need to find better ways to help people with PTSD before they commit acts of desperation.

Sargent might not be the posterboy for PTSD, coming back wounded from a war. But, he did have some traumatic experiences and he does have PTSD. If you read the list of PTSD symptoms, Sargent was exhibiting every one of them at the time of his arrest. I also believe that every doctor that has examined him has diagnosed him with PTSD.

Sarge isn't the kind of guy that would open up to one of his buddies about a problem or weakness. When you saw him after Bosnia and Honduras he was probably still functional. As he became more addicted to the painkillers, and started using them to numb himself to the flashbacks and nightmares that haunted him, his PTSD symptoms were very prevalent. He became very anxious and antisocial. He couldn't even handle being at a small family get together for a short period of time.

I believe this case is a victory for vets that suffer from PTSD and a victory for Sargent and his family. Now, with the verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, Sarge will get the help he needs and hopefully very soon you'll be able to catch up with your old friend.




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Posted by The Old PSG
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

Mr. Ed Binkley,
Let me assure you that it was not I that wrote the letters that were sent from "RA". I have said my peace and you know what the facts are of Bosnia. "RA" confirmed that and even I do not know who that individual is. Bosnia was in fact a Peacekeeping Mission,,, nothing more, nothing less. The Defense Attorneys did a great job of working the system and got your son off with a "insane" deal. So lets look at this, several soldiers who were in the same company say he wasnt much of a soldier, several others who have been to Bosnia and Honduras have said the missions were boring and not combat. So Mr. Ed Binkley, everyone else is lying and your son is telling the truth??? Everyone has a vendetta against your son? What purpose would that serve? As I have said in the past, the biggest shame of all of this, there are soldiers out there who are truly suffering from PTSD, guys seeing things that they should never have to see and they struggle to get the help they deserve. This is not a victory for VETS with PTSD, this harms them more than ever. I would think that as an intelligent man, that you could see this and I am sure you do to some extent. I fully understand your love and support for your son, but this verdict was based off falsehoods that you should now know to be false. Bottom line is, the jury came to a decision, I hope he gets all the help he needs and in turn becomes a productive member of society. Then once all this is final, that he apologizes to the men and women in uniform and to the people who worked at the pharmacies (who suffered more trauma then he did in Bosnia or Honduras).


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Posted by Alan Lubke
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2009 at 8:32 am

Jeff Csoka who was a fellow officer and close friend of Sargent Binkley in Bosnia, emailed me to opine about "RA" and from where his Bosnia perspective may be coming from.

"RA must have been a staff officer when we went to Bosnia (and staff officers rarely left the camp). Of all the West Pointers who were XOs or Platoon Leaders during that deployment, I was the only one who went on to the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and I only remember one Company Commander being a West Pointer during that deployment. So the fact that RA is a West Pointer still in the Army means that he was either a LT staff officer or a CPT staff officer awaiting command. He may also have been at a different base camp. Keep in mind our battalion was split between three (and then two) base camps – Dobol, McGovern, and Demi (which closed midway through our deployment). So RA's comments may be based on what he experienced at McGovern. In speaking with those at McGovern, I know the deployment experience varied - McGovern being a much more built up base camp with better facilities and more amenities. McGovern also had a much smaller area of operations and was located further from the ZOS (zone of separation) than the other Camps."

Alan Lubke
23 January 2009


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Posted by Alan Lubke
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2009 at 8:46 am

My notes from Day 4 of the trial, December 15, 2008.

"Staff Sargeant Romiro Anthony Vasquez from Ft. Riley, KS. Vasquez was a member of the Recon platoon commanded by Sargent Binkley as it trained at Fort Riley and the National Command Training Center for about 6-8 months before being deployed to Bosnia. Vasquez told of the smell from mass graves and the evidence of young children's bodies whose small hands and tiny shoes could be seen as they stood guard for UN pathologists and forensic experts. He vividly described the UN mortuary as a meat packing plant where what was left of the bodies were hung in meshed bags from overhead hooks where they were power washed to remove all residue except the bones of the victims. He watched his platoon leader's (Sargent Binkley's) face turn ashen while together they witnessed this process. He said Binkley finally turned to him and said: "Let's get out of here". Binkley couldn't take it any more.

Even this observer was turned nauseous in court during this part of Staff Sargent Vasquez's testimony.

My overall impression of the Vasquez testimony can be summed up this way. I mentally composed a letter to Sargent Vasquez during the court session. I would tell him that his presence on the witness stand and the articulate, precise manner of his answers, revealed a soldier who epitomized the strength of the U.S. Army and that he made me proud as hell to identify myself as a member thereof."

Alan Lubke
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Retired)
January 23, 2009
Daily observer at the Binkley Trial


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm

LTC Lubke (Ret),
Based off your quote above, are you saying that Staff Sargeant Romiro Anthony Vasquez from Ft. Riley, KS committed perjury? You may want to be careful with your quotes. I have done alot of reserach on this and LT Sargent Binkley did not command the Recon Platoon in Bosnia. He was the 3rd Platoon Platoon Leader in Bravo Company. Based off your quote below which I did a copy/paste from your paragraph above, if your quote is accurate then that is perjury:

"Staff Sargeant Romiro Anthony Vasquez from Ft. Riley, KS. Vasquez was a member of the Recon platoon commanded by Sargent Binkley as it trained at Fort Riley and the National Command Training Center for about 6-8 months before being deployed to Bosnia. Vasquez told of the smell from mass graves and the evidence of young children's bodies whose small hands and tiny shoes could be seen as they stood guard for UN pathologists and forensic experts. He vividly described the UN mortuary as a meat packing plant where what was left of the bodies were hung in meshed bags from overhead hooks where they were power washed to remove all residue except the bones of the victims. He watched his platoon leader's (Sargent Binkley's) face turn ashen while together they witnessed this process. He said Binkley finally turned to him and said: "Let's get out of here". Binkley couldn't take it any more.

Are you sure your quote is accurate? From my understanding, LT Sargent Binkleys Officer Evaluation Reports clearly show that he was assigned as a Platoon Leader in Bravo Company, not in command of the Recon Platoon.

I would think that a Retired LTC would check his references prior to making such bold comments.




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Posted by PTSD observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2009 at 12:41 am

As a Viet Nam veteran who served with the 101st ABN as a medical service officer, I can state that we did not have a "ptsd" diagnosis for combatants in 1968-69, who were suffering from "battle fatigue". We had Division psychiatrist(s) and psychologists, plus aid station doctors and company medics. All we could treat were the symptoms, not the cause. Some vets chose to self medicate with alcohol, drugs, or what ever substance (weed) they could get.

Just observing a traumatic event, a death, or something which would trigger fear, anxiety, anger, hopelessness was common place in Viet Nam. Some of the memories are just as real today as they were 40 years ago.

You do not have to be a "combat" vet to have PTSD today. It can occur due to any issue mentioned above. The VA is relaxing the acceptance of a service connected disability due to PTSD, which is a good move to extend care to those veterans who need it.


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Posted by A Classmate of Binkley
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2009 at 6:51 am

I knew Binkley at West Point. He and I were in the same boxing class. I can't say that I knew him extremely well but I did meet him and formed an impression of him from those days. He struck me as talented but also cynical, rebellious and self-centered. Then again, I was hardly a model student either. Because of that personal impression, I have a hard time viewing his addiction problems as largely the Army's fault.

However, all this about who was in Bosnia or Central America when and where and what was seen and whether this is the cause of PTSD isn't really a productive discussion. The reason why is that the main point of his trial is that a mandatory 12 years is too harsh for what he did and if that is what he ended up getting, justice wouldn't have been served. Binkley's legal defense team probably needed to try to pin some of the blame on the Army to get a jury to sympathize for him. If I were in his place, I don't think I would have done differently. Even if the Army didn't screw him, the Army has screwed tons of other people over the years without accepting responsibility so I'd call it even. Between the Army getting blamed unfairly and 12 years in jail, I'd say the 12 years in jail is a greater injustice. He served a couple years in jail and I think that fairly addresses justice in this case.

So Binkley, if you read this I hope you get better and go on to lead a really good life and make me wrong about my impression of you from our cadet days.



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Posted by co-worker
a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2009 at 1:42 pm

i worked with sarg. at neutrogena. believe me he was a ass. he was being investigated for sexual harassment. he was a supervisor in the soap dept. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Mr. Heywood Jablomi
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2010 at 1:32 am

One fact is lost among all of the noise.

A soldier who is discharged with a less-than-honorable discharge is not entitled to treatment at the VA. Why would the Army reward bad soldiers with free medical care for life?

Soldiers who honorably serve, and who complete their terms of service honorably, are entitled to treatment for conditions that are a result of military service. This is part of their contract with America. You serve America honorably, America will be there for you if you are injured, wounded, or killed.

For this individual to claim that he suffers from "PTSD" is simply too convenient. It is very simple to verify if a person suffers from that condition. It is a "yes/no" proposition.

If the person does suffer from PTSD, then it should be possible to trace the genesis of the disorder to one singular qualifying trauma. That means that an event took place, and when we are talking about events in the military, that means that others were present, others were witnesses, and if the event was traumatic, it is even likely that a report was made, and that means that paperwork exists.

Anyone can say, "I saw a very realistic crime of violence in a movie and I was traumatized." It may even be true. Who, then, is responsible for that? I say this to suggest that "traumatic incidents" may not be traumatic for everybody, and it goes without saying that they may not even be genuine events.

All of this is mooted by one significant fact: Binkley was not discharged with an honorable discharge.

For that reason alone, he is not entitled to seek treatment at the VA.

The VA is not wrong. Binkley is wrong, and he is suffering the consequences of his misconduct.

All of you people who are jumping on the "Soldier with PTSD" bandwagon need to wake up.

If you wish to feel sympathy for a bad soldier who went on to make further poor decisions, then call it what it is. Do not attempt to wrap this bad soldier in the flag, and do not attempt to paint this as yet another incident where the US Army destroyed someone's life. Do not cast blame at the VA. The VA is not at fault.

If Binkley has PTSD, then investigate where it came from. He may have actually committed other crimes with his "unloaded handgun." He certainly did not experience qualifying trauma during his military service. The Army owes him nothing. The VA owes him nothing. America owes him nothing.

Like anyone else, if he commits crimes, he should be punished for them. Simple as that.


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Posted by MJ
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2010 at 10:12 am

I'm sure he was a real deal death dealing killer, who's just seen too many dead bodies, and just deserves 'second' chance on life.

Whatever, you do the crime you do the time. He's one that most real deal soldiers understand: Big boy rules apply.

He sounds like just another O2 thief.

Nothing to see here, keep it moving.


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Posted by LosAltosHighVictim
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I got picked on by Sargent in high school. He threatened me one time that my friends and I still remember and talk about it to this day. It's funny now that we are older, I suppose, but back then it was pretty scary. I would have thought the armed services would have straightened him out, but maybe not.


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