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Combat veteran denied entry to PTI program gets prison term

July 19, 2019 - 10:54 am

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — A Marine combat veteran who was denied entry to a pretrial program after he was accused of punching a state trooper and charged with a weapons offense is now headed to state prison.

Mark Elwell received a three-year sentence this week. He must serve at least a year before he's eligible for parole.

Elwell pleaded guilty to the unrelated counts in May. Those pleas came shortly after a state judge ruled that Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae acted within her authority when her office twice denied Elwell admission to the pre-trial intervention program.

Officials argued the program is meant for those with lower-level offenses and isn't equipped to serve someone with Elwell's needs.

Elwell served in Afghanistan and saw combat as a machine gunner before receiving an honorable discharge in 2012. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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