A man who already has been convicted of murder may argue that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he allegedly spat in the face of an officer at the Leavenworth County Jail.

A man who already has been convicted of murder may argue that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he allegedly spat in the face of an officer at the Leavenworth County Jail.

However, the defendant may not want to continue a scheduled trial in order to seek an additional evaluation.

Matthew Astorga, 40, is facing a felony charge of battery on a county corrections officer for allegedly spitting in an officer’s face July 15, 2014. The case is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 21 in Leavenworth County District Court.

Astorga already has been convicted in an unrelated case for the 2008 murder of Ruben Rodriguez in Leavenworth. Astorga is waiting to be re-sentenced in this case.

Astorga’s attorney, Joel Rook, has filed a notice of intent to use a defense involving a mental disease or defect in the pending battery case.

In the written notice, Rook identifies the alleged mental defect as PTSD which the attorney argues was “caused by or exacerbated by conditions and treatment within the jail.”

District Judge Gunnar Sundby conducted a hearing in the battery case Friday.

Astorga, who is in custody at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility, did not appear in the Leavenworth courtroom for the hearing. But he was represented by Rook.

Sundby said he assumed Astorga would need to be examined at Larned State Security Hospital in light of the notice filed by the defense attorney.

But Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones noted that Astorga was examined at the state hospital last year.

At that time, Astorga was represented by a different attorney.

Rook said the defense probably will not try to find an expert witness to perform a separate examination.

Rook said he will need to check with Astorga. But the attorney said he does not believe his client wants to delay the jury trial.

“My guess is we’re probably not going to do that judge,” Rook said.

Without a defense expert, the judge said Rook likely would have to rely on the person who performed the examination at Larned State Security Hospital. But Sundby said this would be an adverse witness to the defense.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR