This is really an outdated practice that needs to stop. Let these boys do some community service and then join the military if that's what they want, but stop giving them this kind of "choice". As a commander and a Soldier, I don't want -- or need -- people who've been forced into the military. I've seen the effect that one personality can have on the cohesion and morale of the unit, and this isn't someone we need. Our Soldiers are professional and educated as never before and this kind of action is an insult to all they've accomplished.
If they want to join the Navy after they've learned some hard lessons about life, then let them. But that's a personal decision, and a decision best left for another time.
LTC Mike Lawhorn
Two Men Choose Navy As Sentence
By Associated Press
BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Two 19-year-olds facing probation and community service or even jail time in the shooting of a steer considered a family pet took advantage of another option offered by the judge - joining the Navy.
Chris Jabco and Eric Smith, both from Bellefonte, had pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals and two summary violations in the shooting of the $3,500 Scottish Highland steer.
The two were drinking Sept. 17 and drove through Spring Township with another man in search of deer to poach, culminating in the shooting of the steer, authorities said. The pair reached a deal with prosecutors, who recommended two years' probation and at least five hours of community service.
But Centre County Court Judge Bradley P. Lunsford said the case warranted more than probation. He noted the pain caused to the animal's owner and said Jabco and Smith had been drinking and driving around looking for something to kill. Their actions, he said, "were premeditated, senseless, and your motivations were evil."
The judge said they could spend 48 hours in jail, two years on probation, and 100 hours caring for animals on a farm; avoid jail time but spend 200 hours on the farm and remain on probation for two years; or enlist in the military.
Defense attorney Jim Bryant said his clients planned to join the Navy.
"I think it was an appropriate and innovative resolution to a bad situation," Bryant said. "This was a case of young adult stupidity."
Centre County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob also said he was pleased.
"We believe the defendants will benefit from military service," he said.
Another judge had sentenced the third man, who pulled the trigger, to two years' probation.