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An Army veteran who shot his girlfriend in the chest while experiencing a flashback to his deployments in the Middle East pleaded guilty Tuesday in New London Superior Court to assault and weapons charges.
Jason Durr, 29, of Lebanon, pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to first-degree assault and illegal possession of an assault weapon. Under the Alford Doctrine, Durr does not agree with the state’s version of the crime, but does not want to risk a conviction at trial and the possibility of a harsher sentence.
Durr had also faced attempted murder charges, which the state will no longer pursue as a result of the plea deal.
He will be sentenced March 26 to 15 years in prison, suspended after five years served and three years probation.
According to a police report, Durr and the victim, Rachel Trombino, were drinking together in his basement apartment at 424 Kick Hill Road in Lebanon on May 9, 2012 and arguing. Trombino said Durr “freaked out” and shot her with an assault rifle 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.
Trombino underwent emergency surgery after the shooting. She has been attending his court appearances and has said she wants Durr to be incarcerated despite his claims of PTSD.
Trombino declined to comment Tuesday, but her mother, Patty, said that the they were glad the case was finally going to be over.
She called her daughter, who nearly died in the incident, a “strong and amazing” woman.
Durr’s family said they would comment at his sentencing.
Durr was sent back to prison in November after failing to comply with the court’s order that he live in a sober house. He was released from prison in October 2012 to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in West Haven and then underwent treatment for substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport, N.Y.
He was released in June to the Evolution Properties sober house in New Haven and had been attending therapy at the VA hospital.