By SCOTTA CALLISTER
SALEM – Jessie L. Bratcher will remain at the Oregon State Hospital, the state Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) has decided.
Bratcher’s confinement was the subject of an April 28 hearing before the PSRB, the state panel that now is in control of his fate.
A Grant County jury last December found Bratcher guilty except for insanity for the shooting death a John Day man, Jose Ceja Medina, in 2008. He was turned over to the jurisdiction of the PSRB for life.
Bratcher was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from his military service in Iraq.
The hearing in April was his first session before the review board. The board routinely sets hearings in such cases every two years, but Bratcher also has the right to request a hearing as often as every six months.
Grant County District Attorney Ryan Joslin, who attended the hearing, said the board had three questions to consider: Does Bratcher still have the mental disease or defect, PTSD? When the condition is active, is he a threat to the community? And could he be safely monitored in the community, rather than in the hospital?
The board said yes to the first two questions and no to the last, ruling that Bratcher should remain confined to the state hospital.
Markku Sario, Bratcher’s attorney, was seeking – at trial and before the PSRB – to have his client sent to New Directions, a secure treatment facility that specializes in veterans with PTSD. The founder of the Los Angeles-based facility for veterans even testified for the defense in Bratcher’s trial.
However, Sario said there seem to have been some changes in the management of the program since then, and he was surprised when New Directions notified the PSRB that Bratcher had not been analyzed or assessed for admission.
Sario said he’s looking into the situation, and he will continue to press for Bratcher to be sent to New Directions or some other PTSD program. He noted that the state hospital has no program focusing on PTSD.
Meanwhile, he said Bratcher is doing well at the hospital in Salem, attending group counseling and working on stress reduction techniques. His symptoms are “in remission,” Sario said.
“He’s very invested in his treatment,” he said.
Sario said that with many more Oregon veterans coming home with PTSD, after serving the nation in the Middle East, specialized programs are going to be a critical need.