Iraq war veteran fighting for freedom, faced with prison time

Veteran charged with robbery

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - An Air Force veteran is facing robbery charges for a crime he said he doesn't remember committing in October 2011.

Maurice Lloyd served in Iraq for four months in 2004 when he voluntarily deployed to Camp Anaconda, a base north of Baghdad. During his deployment, Lloyd described his work environment as 'hospitable.' He was responsible for providing security on base and escorting nationals.

"When you're working out there, especially working with the locals, it's hard. You don't know who you can trust," Lloyd said. "You're very alert because you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know if a suicide bomber is going to walk next to you. You don't know if you're going to get hit by a rocket. You don't know if somebody's going to shoot at you."

In 2007, Lloyd was honorably discharged but quickly returned to Iraq as a civilian. He spent three years overseas, then in 2010 Lloyd and his wife Virginia moved to Aurora. Shortly after the move, he started to experience problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"When I first was diagnosed with it, I was in denial," Lloyd said. "Sometimes I come downstairs and I'll keep the lights out, keep all the shades down. I felt like I was at threat all the time. I felt like people were out to get me. If I smell like exhaust type smell, it reminds me of mortar rockets...Dumptrucks that go by, it sounds like explosions, sometimes it makes my heart race."

Lloyd admitted to abusing alcohol and his relationship with his wife was deteriorating.  On October 24th, 2011, Lloyd left his house at 2:30 a.m. to go for a drive. Later that day he was in jail. His recount is below.

"I couldn't sleep. At night time, it's very quiet, it's peaceful for me. I went out to get something to eat. I just wanted to get out to try, you know release, just try to get my mind off of things. I went to a restaurant. I believe instead of me coming back towards my house, I went the opposite way and was going to get on the highway to come back...It sounded like something was either thrown at my vehicle or hit my vehicle, like a glass bottle or something like that, so it made me pull over and I was checking out my vehicle. I was down by a tire checking on my vehicle, and then I see some guys behind me. I didn't pay no attention. Next thing you know, the guys approach me and I got up and one of them grabbed at me and we got into somewhat of an altercation. After that, I blacked out."

Lloyd said the next he remembered was being in a cop car. A psychiatrist later told Lloyd he went into a dissociative state during the incident. An arrest report from the Aurora Police Department paints a different picture.

It states the morning of October 24th, a man ran up to a patrol car at East Colfax Avenue and Alton Street and told the officer 'his Porsche had just been stolen." The man pointed to an Escalade driven by Lloyd and said the man driving the car was the person responsible. The officer pulled the Escalade over, at which point the victim and two of his friends claimed they "had been robbed at gunpoint by the driver."

A wallet belonging to one of the men was found inside Lloyd's car, and his handgun was found on the street nearby. The 'stolen' Porsche was never located.

Mental health provider Robert Alvarez and investigator George Andreas-Pagony have committed their work to helping veterans who face incarceration from incidents they often don't remember. Both told 7NEWS veterans need re-integration when they return from a war zone in order to help them cope with PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). They cite dozens of cases where something triggered a veteran and they attacked a stranger or loved one.

"If a person comes in without their arms, we feel terribly grief stricken and guilt filled for this individual, and we want to cut all kinds of slack to that individual. But if the injury occurs above the shoulders and is inside somebody's mind then many of us fall on the other side of that, where we refuse to accept this is anything but chicanery, avoidance of responsibility and accountability," Alvarez said. "I can appreciate that but from professional standpoint, it's real."

Lloyd's attorney is working with the Adam's County District Attorney in hopes of preventing Lloyd from serving a prison sentence. Last Wednesday, Lloyd plead guilty to two counts of robbery, which do not carry minimum prison sentences. He sentencing date is set for September.

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