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Former Army sniper turned mercenary known as 'Rambo' gets life in prison for contract killing
A former Army sergeant who worked as a sniper instructor and carved out a post-military career as a mercenary under the moniker 'Rambo' was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the contract killing of a woman in the Philippines, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday.
- Joseph Hunter, who served in the Army from 1983 to 2004 and led air-assault and infantry squads, was found guilty in April 2018 of orchestrating the murder of real estate agent Catherine Lee with two other former soldiers.
- "With zero regard for human life, Joseph Hunter callously helped to arrange the murder of a Filipino woman in exchange for money," Geoffery Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. "He and his co-defendants have now been sentenced to life behind bars for their heartless crimes."
- Hunter, 53, was previously sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2015 to charges including conspiracy to murder a federal drug agent and import cocaine into the United States as an enforcer for South African businessman Paul Le Roux.
- Prosecutors had argued that, after leaving the military, Hunter "tortured, kidnapped and killed people for years along with other former soldiers," per the Associated Press, murdering Lee because Le Roux "wanted to settle a score with the broker."
- During Hunter's trial, his defense attorney argued that years of military service had left Hunter with post-traumatic stress disorder, per the AP: "The country still owes something to Mr. Hunter."
SEE ALSO: 2 Army EOD Soldiers Indicted For Allegedly Trying To Sell Guns And Explosives They Knew Would Be Sent To Mexico
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Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.