The Army Blotter: Army shrink in wife slay, tears at GI-killer's sentencing, 'terp' lied-not spied, faker charges for "hero"

  • Fort Wainwright mental health specialist Spc. Aaron M. Rentfrow, 30, has been charged with murder and kidnapping related to the death of his wife, Tonya Rentfrow, 31, last weekend. Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., he joined in 1999 and served to 2003, then rejoined in 2007. In May, he was assigned to Bassett Army Hospital; He has not served in Afghanistan or Iraq. [via Anchorage Daily News]
  • Former Fort Irwin soldier Melvin Satcher convicted of murdering and robbing a fellow ex-soldier, Sandi Lee Duncan, 29, was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. A slide show of Duncan’s life played in a California court, with background music; when the video footage showed 10-year-old Duncan running around in her grandmother’s backyard hunting Easter eggs, sobs from the audience echoed in the courtroom. Satcher, 24, never took his eyes off the projected video, looking straight at the screen. [via Daily Press]
  • A federal jury in Detroit acquitted an ex-Army translator Issam (Sam) Hamama of being a spy for Iraq in the 1990s, but convicted him of lying to investigators about his contacts with foreign government officials when he sought security clearance. Hamama, prosecutors said in court records, never disclosed that he was an agent for the Iraqi Intelligence Service , that he got paid by the Iraqi government for his work, that he had met IIS officials in Washington, and that he had collected information about people and groups in the U.S. who were of interest to the IIS, and shared the information with Iraq. [via Detroit Free Press]
  • After being struck in the face and head by shrapnel while on patrol in Iraq in 2005, Aaron Joshua Lawless performed first aid on a fellow soldier and returned enemy fire with a damaged gun, before being struck by an IED — an ordeal that earned him a Purple Heart and Silver Star. At least, that’s how Lawless recounted his time in Iraq to his employer, a Maryland gun store, and the Glock gun-manufacturing company, which decided to honor Lawless as its 2008 “Glock Hero.” The 25-year-old and his wife received a trip to Las Vegas, two Glock guns and a crystal glass trophy, a package worth $3,505.91. But almost none of Lawless’ claims of valor on the battlefield is true, according to ATF agents who filed a criminal complaint in a Maryland federal court. [via The Baltimore Sun]

  • A federal judge in Tennessee has shot down a bid by a Sgt. Franklin Delano Jeffries II, accused of threatening via a You-Tube video to kill a Knox County chancellor, to go free for a few hours so he can help his defense team examine his Facebook account. Locked in a courtroom battle over custody of his now-teenage daughter, Jeffries posted a YouTube video in which he both raps about his frustration, referencing a “judge” and rapping, “I guarantee you, if you don’t stop, I’ll kill you.” [via News Sentinel]
  • A recruiter with the Ohio Army National Guard is accused of trying to lure an 11-year-old girl into his car as she was getting her bicycle. John G. Still, 42, of Strongsville, is charged with criminal child enticement. He said, ‘hey I know you, get in the car,” said a police detective. “She did the right thing, she immediately said ‘no’, went back into the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, got her mother, they immediately called the police…the girl and the mother provided a very detailed description of both the male and the vehicle.” [via WJW-TV]
  • An Army Reserve Maj. Don Curtis Taylor who was a jailer in Texas was sentenced Friday to two years of probation for punching an unruly inmate who had thrown food at another jailer. Taylor asked a judge  to sentence him to deferred adjudication, which would leave him without the felony conviction that will end his 26-year military career. But the judge, a former Air Force officer, said Taylor’s action in May 2009 was at odds with his many military decorations and declined. [via Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
  • Tamous Willis, an Army vet who spent four months in Iraq, was  charged with beating his former landlord with the metal leg of a barbecue grill. Willis, a 25-year-old security guard, left cuts and bruises on the 48-year-old man when they tangled at a Chicago home in August 2008, prosecutors said. After the fight, Willis stole the man’s wallet, authorities said. Willis’ lawyer, said his client didn’t beat the man. “This man is genuinely a standard to live your life by,” he said. [via Chicago Tribune]
  • From video-taped confessions to written sworn statements to voluminous investigative reports, little information has remained concealed as the Army held hearings at  Lewis-McChord for 12 Stryker soldiers accused of war crimes and misconduct in Afghanistan. Yet a few documents and images are under wraps as legal proceedings unfold for the soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Five of the men are accused of murdering three civilians last year, crimes that drew international headlines about an Army “kill team” slaughtering Afghans for fun. [via News-Tribune]
  • The parents of one of the victims of Convicted killer and former Army recruiter Cleve Foster, are upset his execution has delayed–just as Foster was finishing what would have been his last meal. “It leaves you speechless. You can’t breathe,” Terry Urnosky said. “We were expecting closure. But unfortunately, we’re reliving all the thoughts, the trials, the evidence. Everything we’ve been through since this started. The nightmare continues.” [via Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
  • Fort Stewart will soon relieve military police of their responsibilities for making traffic stops and writing tickets on two state highways cutting through the southeast Georgia Army post. Those duties will instead go to local sheriff’s departments and the Georgia State Patrol starting Jan. 26. Col. Kevin Milton, Fort Stewart’s garrison commander, says turning over highway enforcement to civilian agencies will let military police focus on protecting areas of the Army post where soldiers live and work. [via Associated Press/WRCB-TV]
  • Buffalo, N.Y.’s Veterans Court, the first of its kind when it began three years ago, has proved so successful that it has become a model for 46 other courts that have sprung up in 20 states, largely to address the needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Vietnam. Specialized courts for drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, gambling and other issues have existed for years. But this concept — akin to a rehabilitation program blended with legal consequences — focuses on issues associated with veterans who often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, brain trauma or chemical dependency. [via Reuters]
  • Rock County, Wis., has launched the state’s first Veterans Treatment Court. It addresses the veteran’s treatment needs such as post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, or alcohol or drug abuse that contributed to his or her trouble with the judicial system. [via Beloit Daily News]

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