Two Montana men who lied about serving in the military were given harsh punishments by a judge who berated them for dishonoring legitimate service members who risked their lives.
Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski ordered both men to wear signs saying "I am a liar," for pretending they had served overseas to get more lenient sentences.
Ryan Patrick Morris and Troy Allan Nelson were in court this week for violating the terms of their probation on unrelated charges. Ultimately, Pinski sentenced 10 years in prison for a felony burglary charge, with three years suspended, and Nelson to five years behind bars for criminal possession of dangerous drugs, with two years suspended, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Both men had earlier fabricated stories in court about suffering from combat-related injuries to obtain lighter sentences.
Pinski called their actions "shameful" and handed down a series of unusual punishments, including wearing the signs and writing letters of apology to real veterans.
"I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants," the judge said. "You've been nothing but disrespectful in your conduct. You certainly have not respected the Army. You've not respected the veterans. You've not respected the court. And you haven't respected yourselves."
To be eligible for parole, each man was ordered to personally handwrite the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, handwrite the obituaries of all 40 Montana residents killed in those countries, and handwrite apology letters to several veterans' organizations including the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.
The defendants were also ordered to serve 441 hours of community service, the same number of Montana residents killed in action since the Korean War.
And, Pinski ordered, both men must stand at the Montana Veterans Memorial for eight hours straight on Memorial and Veterans Days, wearing a placard that says, "I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans."