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W. Michigan veteran hoping plea deal allows him to avoid jail
ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Newschannel 3 has more information on an Afghani war vet who is praying an Allegan County judge won't send him to jail.
Anthony McFarlane stands charged with attempted murder after stabbing a man in Otsego last winter.
McFarlane, his fiance, and other witnesses claim it was self-defense, but the Allegan County Prosecutor charged McFarlane with attempted murder.
Public outcry by veterans groups led to a plea deal that would keep McFarlane out of jail, but it's not a done deal.
If McFarlane is sentenced to jail, his disability benefits would most likely be stripped for life.
The deal on the table would prevent that, and ensure McFarlane receives the counseling he needs to cope with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
However, the judge has made it clear that jail is not off the table.
Since coming back from the chaos of combat, life is different for McFarlane, but in good ways.
I'd have to say there's quite a few moments where I'm holding her and looking into her eyes, and I'm distracted from all the negativity that's going on, he said.
But despite the good, there is bad as well.
I can't be in huge crowds, McFarlane admitted. Huge crowds kind of make me nervous.
I like peace and quiet, cause over in Afghanistan, I was around so much noise; explosions, gun shots, you name it, he said.
McFarlane suffers from migraines, night terrors, high anxiety and sleepless nights to name a few. All of which earns McFarlane a 60-percent disability rating from Uncle Sam and a monthly check.
And for him, that's good, because since being charged with attempted murder he can't get a job anywhere.
Nobody wants to hire you, you know because nobody knows what the truth is they just know what it says on the criminal background, he said.
Since McFarlane served in Afghanistan, Ionia County Veterans Court has agreed to take his case.
If Allegan County courts will accept a plea deal on the table, McFarlane could face only a misdemeanor, where he once faced the possibility of life in prison.
But it will take time.
It will take an 18 month veteran court process, he explained.
So he will be charged as a felon for at least that long.
In the meantime, he just hopes his disability money is enough.
McFarlane's attorney says there are around 800,000 veterans in Michigan right now, and another 100,000 due home in the next 5 years.
On Tuesday, the veterans court coordinator told Newschannel 3 that he would estimate 70 to 80 percent of all combat vets have PTSD or TBI.
He believes cases like McFarlane's will be more common in the years to come.