In an effort to receive lesser sentences, two men claimed to be military veterans. Their goal was to have their criminal cases transitioned to a Veterans Court, a move which may have given them a degree of leniency when sentenced. However, neither of the men were veterans, and they were given a unique sentence for their baseless claims.
Two Montana men – Roy Morris, 28, and Troy Nelson, 33 – claimed that they were veterans in an attempted to get their court cases shifted to a Veterans Court. Neither Morris nor Nelson are veterans, a point that wasn’t missed by the judge.
In 2016, Morris claimed he suffered from PTSD related to seven combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also claimed that he needed a hip replacement after sustaining an injury caused by an improvised explosive device.
Nelson, according to a report by Fox News, enrolled in Veterans Treatment Court even though he was never a member of the military. It was determined after his initial enrollment that he had never served.
On Friday, both men were sentenced in regards to their cases. Morris received 10 years for violating probation for a felony burglary conviction. Nelson got five years for drug possession.
Judge Greg Pinski, who rendered the decisions, suspended three years of Morris’ and Nelson’s sentences. He also added unique conditions based on their false claims that they were veterans.
Pinski ordered both of the men to handwrite the name of each of the 6,756 Americans who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are also required to write obituaries for the 40 Montanans who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Additionally, Pinski ordered Morris and Nelson to write apology letters to several veterans groups, requiring that they identify themselves as being persons who lied about military services as a means of receiving help and potentially lighter sentences from a Veterans Court.
The men each have to complete 441 hours of community service with a veteran’s organization. Each hour represents a Montanan who was killed in combat, dating back to the Korean War.
Further, each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Morris and Nelson will have to stand for eight hours at the Montana Veterans Memorial, located in Great Falls, with signs that read: “I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.”
Pinski also required the men to watch a video that showed a stolen valor suspect being confronted by a military servicemember.
If Morris and Nelson fail to follow Pinski’s order, they will not be eligible for parole. The judge said that these sentences were designed as punishment for lying to the court.