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Battle Fatigue No Cover for Road Rage Shooter

A combat veteran who claimed that post-traumatic stress disorder led him to fire on a vehicle in an act of self-defense got no sympathy from the First District Court of Appeals, which ruled his 2012 conviction for aggravated discharge of a firearm at a Calumet City stoplight should stand. A Cook County judge took Wendell Frazier’s two tours in Iraq into account when he quashed a charge of attempted murder that arose from the incident with an unarmed driver on Michigan City Road. However, he agreed to bar expert testimony aimed at establishing the former transport gunner’s mental state at the time of the incident.

The three-member panel concurred with the lower court that Frazier acted as the aggressor, having passed the other driver and braked sharply in front of him a number of times prior to discharging his weapon. It also said that the petitioner’s PTSD was well established in trial testimony by psychologists from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Because Illinois does not recognize affirmative defense, judges said Frazier failed to establish legal grounds for appeal.