First US Execution of 2015: Vietnam Vet With PTSD

Andrew Brannan, 66, was convicted of 1998 murder of sheriff's deputy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 14, 2015 8:29 AM CST
First US Execution of 2015: Vietnam Vet With PTSD
This undated prison file photo shows convicted murderer Andrew Brannan. Brannan, 66, was executed for the 1998 slaying of 22-year-old sheriff's deputy Kyle Dinkheller during a traffic stop.   (Georgia Department of Corrections)

(Newser) – A man who fatally shot a sheriff's deputy who stopped him for speeding on a Georgia interstate was put to death yesterday for the 1998 killing, which was captured on the patrol car's video camera. Andrew Howard Brannan, 66, was pronounced dead at 8:33pm after a single-drug injection at the state prison in Jackson. He was convicted of the January 1998 shooting death of Kyle Dinkheller, a 22-year-old sheriff's deputy in Laurens County. "I extend my condolences to the Dinkheller family, especially Kyle's parents and his wife and his two children," Brannan said in a statement moments before the injection was administered. Lawyers for Brannan, a Vietnam veteran, had unsuccessfully argued to authorities to spare the inmate's life, saying the shooting was tied to mental illness directly traced to Brannan's military service.

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Veterans Affairs doctors had diagnosed Brannan with post-traumatic stress disorder in 1984 and determined that his condition had deteriorated to the point of 100% disability by 1990, the petition said. In the 1998 incident, Dinkheller stopped Brannan for driving 98mph and demanded he take his hands from his pockets during a traffic stop; officials said Brannan then began cursing, dancing in the street, and saying "shoot me" before he rushed the deputy. After a scuffle, Brannan pulled a high-powered rifle from his car and shot Dinkheller at least nine times. Police found Brannan the next day hiding under a camouflage tarp near his home. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday denied a request to commute his sentence to life without parole. (Read more execution stories.)

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