A Montana judge hit 2 offenders with a deeply fitting punishment for stolen valor


VIDEO: Why do some people steal valor?

Talk about a punishment that fits the crime: a pair of Montana men who lied about serving in military to get their cases to a state veterans court ended up getting an extra lesson in respect for the U.S. armed forces.

On Friday, Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski sentenced Ryan Morris and Troy Nelson to prison for violating the terms of their probation in two separate crimes after they both falsely represented themselves as veterans to get their cases moved to Pinski's Veterans Treatment Court.

Morris had previously claimed that he suffered from PTSD after seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press, while Nelson had somehow managed to weasel his way into the veterans court before he was exposed for stolen valor.

While Morris and Nelson were sentenced to ten years for his felony burglary conviction and five years for a drug possession conviction, respectively, Pinski tacked on some additional requirements before the two can be eligible for parole.

Aside from 441 hours of community service apiece (one for each Montanan killed in combat since the Korean War), the two must both hand-write obituaries for the 40 Montanans killed in the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and hand-write the names of all 6,756 U.S. service members killed in those wars.

In addition, the two must stand at the Montana Veterans Memorial in Great Falls wearing a placard that says, "I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans," for eight hours on each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, according to the Associated Press.

"I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants," Pinski reportedly said on Friday.

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Editor's note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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