Under fire: Wartime stress as a defense for murder
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Altoona, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Raymond Williams had just retired and was looking forward to traveling out west with his wife and spending time with his three grandchildren. But all those plans were shattered on April 6, 2009. As Williams, 64, went to get the mail on that spring day, he was gunned down by a man he'd never met.
His wife found his body.
"She said, you know 'Matt! Matt! Somebody shot Dad,'" recalled Williams' son, Matt. "It didn't register. I'm thinking, 'OK where is he now? Did they take him to the hospital? What hospital is he in?' And before I could even get another word out, she goes 'And he's dead.'"
A short time earlier, the same gunman had killed a teenager and wounded a woman at a store in the same working-class town of Altoona in central Pennsylvania.
The gunman, Nicholas Horner, was a husband, a father, and a veteran soldier who had been awarded multiple medals for his service in Iraq, including a combat action badge. Less than a year after returning from combat, Horner faced two first degree murder charges and the possibility of the death penalty.
"Not in a million years could I believe this was true because Nick would never, he could never hurt anyone," said Horner's mother, Karen. "I know Nick. Nick pulled the trigger, but that wasn't Nick."