Jurors tasked with sorting out whether longstanding mental health issues or jealous anger caused a Des Moines man to kill his neighbor began deliberating around noon Wednesday.
In closing arguments, prosecutors hoped to convince jurors in a Polk County courtroom that Patrick Kirwan, 31, shot and killed Mark Hruska because of suspicions that his girlfriend and the victim were having an affair.
But defense attorney Darren Page argued the March 1, 2015, killing was driven by Kirwan's struggles with schizoaffective and post-traumatic stress disorders — conditions worsened by the months he spent in the Iraq War after enlisting in the U.S. Army when he was 19.
"You got this recruiter telling you about how great it is and you're going to be able to pay for college," Page said of Kirwan's time in the military. "They don't tell you that you're going to be cleaning the blood, brains and the guts of one of your close friends from a vehicle one day... They don't tell you that you can be killed while laying in your bed trying to get a few hours of sleep."
Kirwan spent 15 months serving at a forward operating base south of Baghdad, experiencing gunfights, rocket-propelled grenade attacks and bomb explosions. After returning to the U.S. in 2006, Kirwan was not able to fully get the help he needed at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, Page said.
Jurors left after 4 p.m. Wednesday without reaching a verdict in the case.
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