The Army National Guard officer accused of stealing an armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett last June is scheduled to go on trial May 20.
But Joshua Yabut’s trial has been put on hold because the 30-year-old first lieutenant plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to WTVR. A new hearing in Nottoway County, Virginia, is set for July 2.
Yabut is accused of stealing the military vehicle and leading police on a more than 60-mile chase to Richmond, Virginia, while under the influence of drugs. He said he had permission to take the APC, but Virginia National Guard officials denied that in initial reports.
The charges of driving under the influence and unauthorized use of a vehicle were dismissed in a deal in September, but he still faced a charge of felony eluding police, according to the AP. He was found competent after a 2½-month evaluation at a mental hospital.
Yabut’s case took another twist in January when he violated the terms of his bond and traveled to Iraq, somehow losing his ankle monitoring bracelet along the way.
He used his valid military ID to board a flight at Naval Station Norfolk before flying commercially from Charlotte, North Carolina, the rest of the way to Baghdad. He returned to Norfolk two days later, according to WTVR. His military ID is no longer valid and he was put back behind bars.
WTVR also reported that Yabut’s online activity showed he researched making bombs and posted to his Twitter account information on how to make “train derailment devices” and pressure cooker explosives.
A mental examination hearing is set for June 21 at Richmond Circuit Court.
Stephen Weigand is digital content editor at Sightline Media Group.