CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Army thought so highly of Davon Thomas they began recruiting him when he was just 17. By the time he was 23, he was in Iraq seeing heavy combat in 2004.
Everything that you hear and read about, he has had some of those experiences said Mrs. Thomas, Davon s mother.
Thomas has been called a hero, but these days he s called something else: accused murderer.
On November 7, 2009 Tigist Yemane was shot and killed with an AK-47. Her boyfriend Davon was arrested two days later.
Our hearts go out to the friends and family of that wonderful young girl that I loved, said Mrs. Thomas, who doesn t blame her son.
She blames the Army.
She says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and that he tried to get help for years and was turned down. In his brief competency hearing Tuesday morning, he detailed a long list of powerful psychotropic drugs he s been taking in jail to treat his condition.
This is the result of our military and our government. He is one of tens of thousands of soldiers that have been discarded deliberately, his mother said.
Yemane s family and friends were also in court. A not guilty by reason of insanity plea is not what they wanted to hear.
We just wanted closure. We wanted justice to be done today. It's been almost three years and we've been waiting for justice, said Loretta Caldwell, a friend who says she felt a mother daughter bond with the victim.
Prosecutors offered Thomas a deal, which would have guaranteed he d get out of prison after serving more than 20 years. Mrs. Thomas says her son didn t know what he was doing.
He saw this young lady as a terrorist, a suicide bomber, and he had a flashback thinking he was back in Iraq.
Caldwell says he appeared normal when he picked her up that day.
Whether he snapped or didn't snap, it doesn t change the fact that Tigist is gone on to be with the Lord, said Caldwell.
By not accepting the deal, Thomas is facing a life sentence if convicted. No date has been set for his trial, but prosecutors indicated that it probably would not occur this year.