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Sunday, Nov 19, 2017
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Statement by Buendia's attorney

TAMPA - Former Marine Matthew Buendia, accused of shooting a Hillsborough County deputy three times Sept. 30 following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon. Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux is expected to recover. Buendia, 24, is charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer. Buendia's attorney, Mark O'Brien, on Saturday released the following statement to The Tampa Tribune: "Yesterday my law firm accepted the responsibility of protecting the rights of Matthew Buendia. Regardless of the outcome, at the end of this case, there will be no winners.
Instead, at its conclusion, an officer of the law, a Tampa hero, and someone who risks her life daily to protect ours, will still have been shot and wounded. And her life, and the life of those who care for and love her, will forever be altered. Our prayers and the prayers of Matthew Buendia's family are with the officer and her family. At the same time, a United States Marine, an American hero, and someone who risked his life for nearly a half decade protecting the freedoms of not only Americans but also the freedoms of Iraqis and Afghans, will still be suffering from the very real horrors of war. Whether our current wars are necessary is a story for a different day to be debated by politicians who rarely fight in them. But for those soldiers who do fight and, as a result, see things unimaginable to those of us who do not, the one constant of war is horror - whether necessary or not. So the legal question that remains today is whether Matthew Buendia, a decorated soldier yet barely a man, without a blemish on his record, intentionally attempted to kill his fellow American hero on Sept. 30, 2011. We as a law firm believe that he did not. We believe that while Matthew Buendia left behind the horrors of war, the horrors of war never left Matthew Buendia. We believe that a man who served three tours of combat, killing the enemy as ordered all the while trying not to be killed - in order to protect our freedom - would never knowingly attempt to take the life of another person trained to do the same. So we ask that everyone who is interested in this case not rush to judge Matthew Buendia but instead stop and contemplate what it means to fight a hidden and silent enemy in a distant land and what happens when that same person returns home sound in body but not sound in mind. Regardless of the outcome of this case, we as a country need to remember that a ribbon on the back of our car is wonderful but also that the horrors of war are not. When you send an 18-year-old boy to a foreign land to do violent acts he more often than not returns home a different man. This is certainly the case with Matthew Buendia. Our troops deserve more from our government, and more from us as a community, when they return from fighting in foreign lands. They deserve treatment for their mental health defects that are hidden in plain sight just as much, if not more, than they deserve treatment for their physical injuries visible to our naked eye. In conclusion, this situation is horrible and again it will have no winners. We believe as this case unfolds the prosecutor, the judge or, if necessary, a jury, will realize Matthew Buendia, who is not only a decorated soldier with no previous contact with law enforcement but also someone's son, brother, uncle, and friend, is not a deranged defendant with criminal intent but instead a very sick soldier who desperately needs mental health treatment. Matthew Buendia does not need the supervision of a guard at a prison. Matthew Buendia needs the care of a doctor in a hospital. Where Matthew Buendia ends up at the conclusion of this case will say a lot about who we are as a community." -- Mark J. O'Brien, Esquire O'Brien Rodriguez, PA
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