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Soldier in shooting case released to VA hospital

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published October 12. 2012 2:00PM   Updated October 13. 2012 12:02AM

A 28-year-old Army soldier who says a flashback to his deployment in the Middle East may have caused him to shoot his friend in the chest with an assault rifle has been released from prison to a Veterans Affairs hospital for evaluation.

Jason M. Durr had been held in lieu of a $1.1 million bond since May on charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault and illegal possession of an assault weapon.

During his appearance Friday in New London Superior Court, attorney Kevin C. Barrs asked for a reduction in bond so that Durr could be evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder. Judge Susan B. Handy reduced the bond to a promise to appear in court and released Durr to a representative from the Veterans Affairs.

The judge ordered Durr to return to court Monday if he is not admitted to the hospital. The VA would not agree to the evaluation while Durr was incarcerated.

The victim, Rachel Trombino, underwent emergency surgery and survived. She was in court for Friday morning’s proceeding. Though Durr’s attorney is exploring using Durr’s alleged mental illness as a defense, prosecutor David J. Smith said he will be seeking prison time for the offense.

According to a police report, Durr and Trombino were drinking together in his basement apartment at 424 Kick Hill Road in Lebanon on May 9 and arguing. Trombino said Durr “freaked out” and shot her after hearing a loud noise outside, getting a strange look in his eyes and having flashbacks of Iraq.

Durr called 911 to report the shooting, according to the report. He said he had recently run out of the Xanax prescription he took for PTSD and didn’t remember what happened. He said he had blacked out before and fought with friends and he knew that whatever happened to Trombino was “done by his hands,” according to the police report.

k.florin@theday.com

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