Ex-Marine accused of attempted murder suffering from PTSD

by: Lee Stoll Updated:


BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Friends say a decorated ex-Marine who stabbed two people is mentally spiraling out of control, and no one paid attention to the warning signs.

A blood-stained hat and Bible still sit on the kitchen table where Nicholas Balsam’s two roommates were repeatedly stabbed Saturday night during a dice game.

"It’s really random and messed up.  It's what happens when people don't get taken care of,"  Balsam said.

 Neighbors heard the men screaming and threw themselves on 24-year-old Jonathan Pablik.

 "When officers got there, he still had the knife in his hand pinned under his body and it was quite a struggle,"  said Bellingham police Officer Bob Vander Yacht.

 Police first arrested Pablik two weeks ago when he punched a stranger on the street.  He was charged with a misdemeanor and released from jail. 

 When asked if Pablik should be released from jail, Vander Yacht said, ""Not right now." 

 According to a family website, Pablik deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.  The marine returned to California after the second tour suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He disappeared in May.  Seattle police found him weeks later wandering outside a grocery store.

 "He completely slipped through the system,"  said Eddie Taylor, who was living at a halfway house with Pablik.  Taylor says he offered to take him to a VA hospital.

Pablik’s family was raising money to move him to a treatment center in California.  He’ll now move through the court system facing attempted murder charges.

 “They turn him into a killing machine and there's no transition for them.  Absolutely it could have been prevented, absolutely,"  said Taylor.

 Both men who were stabbed will be OK. Pablik’s bail is set at $750,000.