Attorney: Marine to plead insanity

Iraq veteran Cpl. Yodi Shembo, who allegedly beat a police officer at San Francisco International Airport in 2006, was not sane during the assault, according to two doctors who evaluated the Marine recently.

On Oct. 11, 2006, Shembo, 25, was allegedly “yelling at passengers, demanding a pen and pushing other Marines away from himself,” at the airport when police confronted him, according to prosecutors. Shembo allegedly took a baton from a police officer’s hands and began beating the officer before being subdued by airport police.

Geoff Carr, Shembo’s attorney, said his client had limited recollection of the incident, adding that Shembo was later surprised to learn what he had done.

“He remembers being confronted by people and not being sure if they were policemen. He remembers a fight that ensued and that’s about it,” he said.

The independent reports by Dr. Jeff Weiner and Dr. George Wilkinson will say that post-traumatic stress disorder played a role in Shembo’s outburst, Carr said. He said news of his mother’s illness and news that a close friend was killed in Iraq compounded Shembo’s situation, which led to hallucinations at the airport.

Carr, who will seek a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, said the doctors’ reports will state that Shembo “did not know right from wrong.” Shembo will be in court Friday, when the reports are set to be submitted in court.

Shembo is charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, said Deputy District Attorney Chris Feasel. He has posted $100,000 bail and is still serving in the Marines, stationed at Balboa Hospital in San Diego.

“The officer had a broken nose, various bumps and bruises, and an injury to his back,” Feasel said. “It was at the airport, so I’d imagine there was a pretty good crowd watching and we do have several independent witnesses.”

Though Shembo has served in Iraq, he was stationed in Japan in the months leading up to the October incident. He flew to his home on the East Coast after learning his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Carr said. He was on his way to Japan with a layover in San Francisco when hallucinations set in. Shembo is now taking medication, Carr said.

Post-traumatic stress disorder may take weeks to develop after exposure to traumatic events, according to Kerri Childress, a spokeswoman for VA Palo Alto Health Care System and the National Center for PTSD.

bfoley@examiner.com


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