As he stood before a Montgomery County judge last year, Bradley W. Stone was already in a downward spiral.
He had been arrested, again, for drunken driving. He was on medications as part of his mental health treatment. The former Marine said he was fully disabled by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, couldn't work and was too broke to pay court costs.
Instead of coming down hard on the 33-year-old divorced father of two young girls, Judge William J. Furber Jr. allowed him to enter a Veteran's Treatment Program that insured he wouldn't have to go to prison or pay a hefty fine.
Furber emphasized Stone's military service and stressed that he and others were there to help him on his road to recovery.
"I'm proud to admit you," Furber said, according to a transcript of the hearing.
Disclosed in court records, the November 2013 proceeding offered a glimpse into Stone's troubles - ones that apparently culminated Monday when officials say he fatally shot his wife and five ex-relatives in three Montgomery County towns.
On April 28, 2013, Stone had been driving a silver Ford Fusion on Gravel Pike in Lower Frederick Township when he missed a curve and hopped over a curb and onto a lawn, according to an affidavit.
When state troopers arrived at the scene at around 12:30 a.m., his companion and the car owner, Jennifer Ovdiyenko, said she was driving, later admitting that she was covering for Stone because he already had prior drunken driving arrests.
Not every applicant made it into special veterans program, Furber said. Stone's application was screened by many people to determine if he genuinely wanted to turn his life around.
"We came to the conclusion. . . the program could be great benefit to you," Furber told him.
At one point, he asked if Stone was able to walk to the witness stand. He also noted that Stone was taking medication for mental health conditions.
He sentenced the vet to 23 months of "intermediate punishment" - which spared him a prison term - with the first 90 days on house arrest, three years of probation and a fine of $1,500.
Stone also had to turn over his license and could not travel beyond adjoining counties without approval.
Under the terms of the Veterans Treatment Court, Stone would have had to make regular court appearances before a judge and follow a treatment plan designed specifically for him.
Furber said the program wasn't easy but if he did what he was told "I think you will be much better off in the long run than, perhaps, as you existed."
Stone said little beyond answering the judge's questions in short responses. But when asked he told the judge he served in the Marines from 2002 to 2011 with a combat tour to Iraq in 2008 and had combat-related injuries for which he had been treated at the Veterans Administration since 2008.
Stone was in Iraq only briefly, serving there from April 17, 2008 to July 2, 2008, according to the Marines. There is no record of him having been wounded, concussed, or otherwise injured during the war.
He was attached to a Philadelphia-based artillery unit, but ended up going to Iraq with a unit based in California. That can occur if a soldier in the reserves volunteers to go into combat, or is called to active duty because he possesses a specific, needed skill, according to the Marines.
As the hearing neared an end, Furber gave Stone a bracelet that he said he gives everyone in the program.
Finally, the judge thanked him for his military service.
To the others in the room, Furber said, "Let's give this man a hand."Staff writer Jeff Gammage contributed to this report.