A Montana judge handed down a sobering punishment last week to two men who claimed they were veterans in an attempt to have their cases moved to a different court, putting anyone who wants to impersonate a veteran on notice.
The two men, Ryan Patrick Morris and Troy Allan Nelson, originally claimed they served in the armed forces to secure access to a veterans’ court.
Veterans Court programs were designed to help veterans address crimes that may stem from service-related addictions, injuries and stresses. The program includes treatment plans and possible lessened sentences for those affected.
Morris claimed in 2016 he completed seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He took it even further, claiming to be in an IED explosion that resulted in major hip surgery.
Nelson was able to enroll in Veterans Treatment Court before his own lie was exposed.
According to the Associated Press, Morris was handed a 10-year sentence for violating his probation. Nelson is looking at five years for a drug charge. Although the two were in prison over separate crimes, they wound up with a similar punishment once Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski discovered their lie.
On top of their individual sentences, if the two ever hope to be eligible for parole there are a few things Judge Pinski wants them to do first.
First, the two punks will have to write out every single name of the 6,756 American men and women killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In addition, they’ll be expected to write the full obituaries of each of the 40 Montanans who died in the wars. The two will also have to pen apology letters to various veterans groups explaining their lies.
The duo was also slapped with an additional 441 hours of community service.
“I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants,” Judge Pinski said of the punishments last Friday.
Anyone thinking about claiming to be a veteran without making the sacrifice might want to reconsider if they plan to peddle their lies in Montana, especially if they’re facing this Montana judge.
Judge Pinski did show a little mercy and suspended three years of their sentences, but there’s a catch.
Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day during their suspended sentences, the two will have to stand at a Great Falls veterans monument wearing a sign that tells the world their crimes.
“I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans,” the signs will read.
Don’t you love a happy ending?
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