A Beach man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for aggravated malicious wounding after police say he chased down his girlfriend and chewed off a chunk of her face.
Now his parents want the world to know the back story.
"Yesterday, he was portrayed as one of the biggest monsters anybody ever wants to meet," says Barbara Bullock, Kevin’s mother.
Kevin Bullock’s parents say their son is not the sum total of the crime he committed. They point to his college career, his years serving the Army during Operation Desert Storm, and the recognition he received during his call to duty.
But the Kevin the judge saw yesterday was twice convicted for attacking former girlfriends. He was sentenced to 35 years for the third attack two years ago, nearly twice the time listed in state sentencing guidelines.
"My expectation was that he would get some time, but hopefully during that time that he would be able to get the medical mental health help and that didn't happen,” says James Bullock, Kevin’s father.
Bullock’s parents believe his military service led to his erratic behavior.
"I think Kevin did have a mental breakdown at the time, I really do,” says Barbara Bullock.
"Say, well maybe we can help this person rather than locking him up and throwing away the key, because that is exactly what was done,” says James.
The Bullocks say their son was off his meds when he attacked his former girlfriend, biting a chunk out of her cheek.
Mrs. Bullock says her son was being treated at the VA hospital and told her of his mental disorder.
"'Mama, I am suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome,’ he did tell me," says Barbara Bullock.
"Is there any reason why your attorney didn't call the doctor to testify at the sentencing?” asked NewsChannel 3’s Barbara Ciara.
“That's a mystery to us because that's what we wanted,” replied James.
NewsChannel 3’s Barbara Ciara reached out to the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney's Office to share the Bullocks’ concerns and they said in part:
"Prior to Bullock's sentencing hearing, a mental health evaluation was completed to determine, 1.) Was he competent to stand trial? 2.) Was he sane at the time of the offense? He was found to be competent and sane."
But for the Bullocks, there is still the nagging question of why was Kevin slapped with a sentence longer than what many convicted killers get?
"I know what Kevin did was wrong, but to give Kevin 35 years, I just couldn't see it,” says Barbara Bullock.
The Bullocks say their son called the VA to get a mental health appointment on the day of the attack.
According to the Bullocks, they told Kevin to come in the following Monday for his regular appointment.
In hindsight, they say their mistake was not getting the best legal defense for their son--a defense that would have brought before the judge the mitigating circumstances that led to his behavior.
They wanted to share their story as a cautionary tale for other parents who face their situation when their kid gets in trouble.