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Vietnam veteran Ron Buis remains jailed, demands trial

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Ron Buis, as a young Marine

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – We’re getting results on a story we’ve been pursuing for several months.  Ron Buis is a decorated combat veteran.  But, he cannot enjoy the freedoms he nearly died for. He’s been in jail for almost two years as a direct result of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he brought back from Vietnam.

Buis was arrested in September 2013 after he started shooting at the voices in his head. His closest friends confirmed Buis had been acting differently in the weeks leading up to the event, claiming to see and hear people who simply were not there. The bullet holes in his mobile home bear out the conflict. Some of the bullets hit the trailers next to his resulting in charges of shooting into an occupied dwelling.

And so, Buis has sat in the Madison County Jail since his arrest awaiting trial and awaiting treatment for the condition that put him there.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday morning, some 21 months after his arrest, his attorney got the court to order a mental evaluation. John Taylor says Buis needs hospitalization instead of incarceration.

“Jail isn’t where he wants to be and jail isn’t really where he needs to be. So he’s frustrated,” Taylor said. And Taylor says he, too, is frustrated. He says Buis has not been treated for the PTSD since his arrest. It’s a condition that will not go away on its own.

“No, they become more difficult to treat,” according to Dr. David Barnhart of Behavioral Sciences of Alabama. He adds, “They still may be treatable, so there is good news. Some of the cognitive behavior therapies with prolonged exposure, for example, can be helpful to even people who have a chronic condition.”

Buis appeared to reject the advice of his attorney Thursday morning and told the court he wants the case to go to trial. There will first be a complete mental evaluation which means Buis will sit in jail and wait a while longer.

A combat veteran twice wounded while fighting for his country in need of someone willing to fight for him.