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U.S. Army impersonator apologizes

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During his many court appearances, the Keysville man arrested in June for impersonating a U.S. Army combat veteran and stealing an infrared laser sight from Fort Gordon has had little opportunity to explain his actions publicly.

Anthony Todd Saxon told the court he had trouble dealing with life after his discharge.   Special
Special
Anthony Todd Saxon told the court he had trouble dealing with life after his discharge.

But Monday, before receiving a sentence of nearly five years, Anthony Todd Saxon told the court he never intended to hurt anyone on the day Fort Gordon military police discovered hand grenades, a land mine and several night vision devices in his vehicle.

"I never, never had any kind of malicious intent, ever, to anyone," said Saxon, during a long, sometimes rambling speech in which he repeatedly apologized to his wife, father, children and the U.S. government.

Saxon, 36, claims that he had trouble coming to terms with the fact that his military career was over after he was discharged from the National Guard in 1995 because of heart problems.

"I also want to apologize for dishonoring the U.S. Army by impersonating a soldier," he said. "I know that was wrong. It was very hard for me to let that go."

Because of a plea deal struck with government prosecutors, four of the seven charges against Saxon for the June 15 incident were dropped in exchange for his admission of guilt on charges of impersonating a soldier, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of an unregistered silencer and short-barreled rifle.

Federal sentencing guidelines gave Judge Dudley H. Bowen the discretion to sentence him to between 57 and 71 months for the crime. Bowen chose the low end of the scale and Saxon was given credit for the nearly one year he has been incarcerated.

In pleading for mercy, both Saxon's wife and father noted his fascination with the military. Both seemed conflicted in their thoughts -- at once praising him for his fervent patriotism and also acknowledging the extreme and deceptive actions that it sparked.

Eddie Saxon said he was proud of his son when, as a child, he became an expert on airplanes, tanks and other military equipment.

"He's the only one of my three sons who knew exactly what he wanted to do from the time he was born -- and that's to serve his country," he said.

In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Saxon told his family he was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan on June 17. He had perpetuated a false existence, one in which he continued to work for the Army and was stationed at Fort Gordon.

Both of his older brothers served combat missions in Operation Desert Storm and the current Iraq conflict, according to a detention order filed after his arrest. That fed his obsession, family members told authorities.

When asked whether she had forgiven him for his deception, his wife, Rhonda, paused a moment before replying, "yes."

"His love for the military is absolutely crazy," she said. "It's all he cares about -- thinks about. My son's the same exact way."

Paul Blankenship, of Blankenship Firearms in Grovetown, was visibly angry as he addressed Saxon personally -- calling him a "liar and manipulator and a thief" who "did soil the uniform of the U.S. Army."

Saxon was charged with stealing a custom silencer from Blankenship's store in 2009.

Blankenship said Saxon's actions were to get attention.

"We're all here for you, Todd," Blankenship said, addressing Saxon by his middle name. "Is this the attention you wanted?"

U.S. Attorney Stephen Inman said he believed Saxon was posing as a soldier to steal military equipment and to sell it.

In sentencing Saxon, Bowen said his chief concern was not Saxon's impersonation of a solider, but on the military training grenades, rifles and other guns found at Saxon's home after his arrest.

Saxon was convicted in 1996 of grand theft in Florida and agents from the ATF had warned him in 2005 that he couldn't own firearms because of his criminal record.

Like the others who spoke Monday, Bowen weighed in on the reasoning behind Saxon's actions, adding that he suspected it had something to do with a "misguided search for self-respect."

Comments (14) Add comment
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Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/23/11 - 10:14 am
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That old boy ain't wrapped

That old boy ain't wrapped too tight.

happychimer
26302
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happychimer 05/23/11 - 12:41 pm
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Riverman I agree with you on

Riverman I agree with you on that.

kegemmi
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kegemmi 05/23/11 - 01:59 pm
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57 years for impersonating

57 years for impersonating but charges dropped for illegaly possessing explosives????? WTH is wrong with that picture??

kegemmi
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kegemmi 05/23/11 - 02:01 pm
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And another thing, never

And another thing, never intended harm pretending to be a soldier. We all ride around with explosives in our cars not intending harm. come on people get a grip. He bamboozled people for years.

happychimer
26302
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happychimer 05/23/11 - 02:23 pm
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57 MONTHS, not years.

57 MONTHS, not years.

spotted_assassin
75
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spotted_assassin 05/23/11 - 02:42 pm
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Ok...didnt this guy have

Ok...didnt this guy have stolen silencers from Blackenship (sp.)? Soooooo, impersonating an military officer, stealing weapons from a military installation, carrying multiple weapons, explosive materials, and firearm suppressors...and only gets 5yrs?
Change his last name to Mohammad, and i bet the whole thing would have turned out different!
....only in America

Brad Owens
5224
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Brad Owens 05/23/11 - 02:55 pm
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I think 57 months seems harsh

I think 57 months seems harsh given that no one was hurt and no violent crime was committed. This guy will spend more time in jail than most people who are convicted, and for a non-violent crime.

Five years is a loooooong time to spend in prison.

Brad

OhWell
327
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OhWell 05/23/11 - 03:22 pm
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Brad I agree with you. Saxon

Brad I agree with you. Saxon grew up with my oldest son and came from a good family, I do not know what his issues are but I do feel for his parents, wife and children. Being this is Federal Prison he will not get early release. My prayers are with him and the family and I hope he gets the help he needs while he is incarcerated. We are pulling for you Todd!

Austin Rhodes
3218
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Austin Rhodes 05/23/11 - 04:06 pm
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...and still no word on where

...and still no word on where he got an ANTI TANK MINE, or what he intended to do with it.

Bizarre.

Willow Bailey
20619
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Willow Bailey 05/23/11 - 04:21 pm
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Why would they drop the

Why would they drop the explosive charges and give him 5 years for lying?

dwb619
118621
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dwb619 05/23/11 - 04:32 pm
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Was it ever determined if the

Was it ever determined if the "explosives" were genuine or simulators?

WoodyKaminer
2
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WoodyKaminer 05/23/11 - 05:13 pm
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They agreed to drop the

They agreed to drop the charges because none of those attorneys ever wanna go to court. Im beginning to think the only 2 words attorneys are taught in law school now are "plea bargain".

Logicalman
0
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Logicalman 05/23/11 - 05:23 pm
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Okay. Aside from the gun

Okay. Aside from the gun charges and dropped explosives charges - I wear camo to hunt, my young son wears a full military uniform for play time, complete with insignias. Does that mean he is violating some stupid law that says you can't wear a uniform that looks like a uniform of a governmental entity? Does that mean I can have everyone arrested for wearing a Green Jacket?

bclicious
888
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bclicious 05/24/11 - 12:29 am
0
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No, but I could argue that he

No, but I could argue that he had criminal intent to carry out a crime. As for what that crime was, perhaps we will never know. With that, I could articulate in a court of law; given the proper physical and testimonial evidence, that Saxon had the necessary tools and intention to carry out acts of terrorism.

Without having the court transcripts, or a reliable source to go off of, I believe what happened here, is that Saxon's lawyer went down the mentally unstable side of the house. For instance: Mr. Saxon never had any intention of hurting anyone, he was not in his right mind, he would never hurt anybody, etc, etc.

This guy was up to something, and I am glad he was at least given some time in prison.

I can only hope that he spends all of his time at Reidsville prison.

Brad Owens
5224
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Brad Owens 05/24/11 - 04:35 am
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Here is aprt of the problem

Here is aprt of the problem right here, "U.S. Attorney Stephen Inman said he believed Saxon was posing as a soldier to steal military equipment and to sell it."

It is obvious this guy is obsessed with all things military. It was obvious he was collecting it for himself and was not trying to steal these items to "sell" them, yet the US Attorney wants to go for the "big" conviction huh?

I feel sorry for this guy's family, but 57 months is too long. It is pretty bad when a non-violent, small money, small time thing like this gets 57 months. I will say it is firearms related, and it is funny how we pound folks like this guy, but wait and see the sentences the guys who killed the 81 year old man get. I want you all to remember I said that, I am willing to bet that all but the trigger man gets about what this guy got for stealing a silencer.

Brad

Brad Owens
5224
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Brad Owens 05/24/11 - 04:48 am
0
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I have an idea, legalize

I have an idea, legalize drugs and silencers, and save the space in prisons for folks who hurt others...

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