Disgraced Special Forces Colonel argues 'disassociation' in domestic violence trial

Col. Owen Ray
Photo credit (U.S. Army/Pfc. Gaozong Lee)

Owen Ray once served as a Special Forces officer, carried the nuclear football for President Obama, and worked as the chief of staff to the I Corps commander at Fort Lewis.

Now he's awaiting his trial for an alleged domestic violence incident back in 2020 where police say he took his family hostage and gunpoint and threatened to kill himself during a drunken tirade.

Podcast Episode
Eye on Veterans
SEAL vet Dave Berkenfield says you can "Be the One"
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

Ray was allowed to quietly retire with no reduction in his rank of Colonel, but Special Forces Command has made the move to strip him of his Special Forces tab, a symbolic move intended to show disapproval of Ray's behavior.

Ray's latest legal tactic has been to appeal to the court that he experience disassociation during the alleged domestic violence incident, his lawyer argues that after his wife called 911 that night that his memory becomes vague, as it triggered his post-traumatic stress which led him to disassociate from the events unfolding around him, according to court documents obtained by Connecting Vets.

In court documents, prosecutors made their counter-argument to the judge stating that a psychologist hired by the defense team makes a diagnosis based more on speculation than fact and that his determination is not aligned with the symptoms of PTSD described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

To further their point that Ray was not experiencing disassociation during the event, prosecutors published an excerpt from the 911 call that his wife made that night, which they argue shows that Ray was completely aware of the events unfolding around him and his role in them.

That excerpt is as follows:

Ray Owen
Photo credit Superior Court of Washington
Owen Ray
Photo credit Superior Court of Washington

Prosecutors argue that this phone transcript, another transcript of a phone call made from prison with his mother, and the psychologists' unorthodox diagnosis indicate that Ray was not disassociating. In legal terms, this means that Ray was from the prosecutor's point of view, not experiencing diminished capacity and is fit to stand trial.

Back in March, Ray's defense team petitioned the Superior Court of Washington to throw one of the prosecutors off the case, after researching her background and finding that she had been a previous victim of domestic violence as they argued she was biased.

Want to get more connected to the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.