Iraq War Veteran Withdraws Bank Robbery Pleas

John Fletcher is an Iraq war veteran. John Fletcher is currently undergoing treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at a VA medical center. John Fletcher pled guilty in December 2008 to robbery and terroristic threats as he held up the 1st Summit Bank in Pennsylvania in September, 2008. Additionally, he pled to: 

  • A 2nd count of terroristic threats (he called in a bomb threat forcing the evacuation of 2 schools in an attempt to distract police from his robbery);
  • Criminal Trespass;
  • Criminal Conspiracy;
  • Simple Assault; and
  • Stalking.  

John Fletcher withdrew his previous guilty pleas on all charges and his sentencing has been postponed for months as he attends PTSD treatment. Of much concern to Fletcher’s defense counsel is the idea that once Fletcher takes a felony conviction, he will no longer be eligible for VA counseling. 

While the VA will not provide counseling in prison, a VA spokesperson stated a felony conviction by itself would not stop counseling from being available. Indeed, VA mental health counseling is seemingly given to many veterans with felony records – once they have completed their term of incarceration. 

Depending on where Fletcher ends up (assuming he is convicted at all) will determine what type of help is available to him. Fletcher claims he has been getting both group and individual PTSD treatment at a VA medical center. Should Fletcher be sentenced to a county facility, individual help will be available to him but not group sessions. State prisons offer different treatment options.