Men Claimed Military Service to be Moved to Veterans Court For Lighter Sentence. It Failed.

By Faye Higbee

Great Falls, Montana- Mom used to say, “the best laid plans of mice and men always come to some bad end.” Two men claimed military service so they could get moved to a veteran’s court back in 2016 and it didn’t work. On Friday, they were sentenced for violating the terms of probation and lying to the court. The Judge ruled it stolen valor.

Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33 were sentenced on Friday on unrelated probation violations.

“I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants.” Judge Greg Pinski

Men claimed Military Service – there was none

Back in 2016, Morris claimed he did “7 combat tours” in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also said he suffered from PTSD and an IED caused him to have a hip replacement. After speaking with his father, it was learned that Morris did not serve.

Nelson managed to get himself into a Veterans treatment program until they determined he was not a veteran.

The Judge ruled those lies to be stolen valor, so he took it into consideration in his sentencing.

The system caught their lies back in 2016 and they did not complete their assignments from Judge Greg Pinski at the time, according to the Great Falls Tribune. Morris was sentenced in 2016 to 441 hours of community service, of which he only completed 10.

Morris was now sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison for violating the terms of his sentence for Felony Burglary, and Nelson to five years on a drug conviction. The Judge suspended three years for both men.

Because both men claimed military service when they had none, the judge required these things, according to Military Times:

Before they can be eligible for parole, Pinski ordered both men to hand write the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; write out the obituaries of the 40 Montanans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and send hand-written letters of apology to several veterans groups identifying themselves as having lied about military service to receive help and possibly a lesser sentence through a veterans court…

… Once released from prison, they must perform 441 hours of community service.

Pinski also ordered that during the suspended portions of the sentences the defendants must stand at the Montana Veterans Memorial in Great Falls for eight hours on each Memorial Day and Veterans Day wearing a placard that says: “I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.”

Military Times

Two days a year they’ll have to stand for 8 hours to be seen by everyone who visits the memorial. The defense objected to the placard sentence. But the judge said it was for lying to the court.

The Montana Veterans Memorial tiles with the names of veterans.

Each Veterans Day and Memorial Day, there are ceremonies on the grounds of the Great Falls Veterans Memorial to honor the men and women who served. That could make it interesting if these men actually complete that part of their sentence.

Featured photo: Left: Troy Nelson, Right: Ryan Morris


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