|Updated: 2/11 10:23 pm
||Published: 2/11 9:46 pm
CONWAY, AR - The attorney for Barry Strickland says his defendant is a war veteran that suffers from post-traumatic-stress disorder and takes medication for it.
For the first time since we learned who was behind the wheel and the charges he faces of DUI-drugs and First Degree Battery, we're learning more about Barry Strickland.
Some would argue it's undeserved for someone that hit and killed a police officer, but the person who's arguing his case begs to differ.
Conway attorney, Frank Shaw has fought battle after battle in the court room for over three decades. This case however is his toughest one yet.
"It's a very difficult decision for me to take this case."
Barry Strickland is accused of running over Officer McGary who died from his injuries.
Shaw says it's Strickland's story that he couldn't refuse. According to Shaw, Strickland is the former Mr. Bald Knob and a celebrated war veteran who served over seas multiple times.
"I needed to help him with this matter."
But the story didn't end with accolades.
"He takes medication because of his mental injuries he suffered while defending our country."
According to Shaw it's been about 8 years since his last service and he has taken medication for post traumatic stress disorder regularly ever since.
Strickland's charges include DUI-drugs. It poses a critical question.
Shaw asked and answered, "What had he taken that day? I just don't know."
He did say however, "There are absolutely no indications that he was on any thing other than his prescription medicine."
According to court documents Strickland admitted to running off the road at least twice before hitting the officer.
"He needs to be held accountable for his actions," said one Conway resident who seemed to have her mind made up on Strickland. "I would want someone to be held accountable for it no matter the accolades or what they've done in life."
Shaw however claims character testimonies offered has been overwhelming.
So we asked Shaw if something besides Barry Strickland and his actions will be responsible for the death of Officer William McGary.
"That is a legitimate question. It's a good question," Shaw responded. "I don't have any more information ... I don't have enough information to tell you."
Shaw says they first have to negate rumors that Strickland was wildly drunk and convince the community of potential jurors that he has a mental injury that Shaw is unsure if it can even be fixed.
Strickland's attorney did say that they will do nothing that will negatively reflect on Officer McGary or the Conway Police Department.