US soldier turned mercenary sentenced to life in prison - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Clear
-0.4°C

US soldier turned mercenary sentenced to life in prison

March 07, 2019 - 2:43 PM

NEW YORK - A former U.S. soldier known as Rambo who became a mercenary for drug dealers was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by a judge who cited his "truly horrific crimes."

Joseph Hunter, 53, a onetime Army sergeant from Owensboro, Kentucky, with a Special Forces background, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams in Manhattan.

She said he carried out his crimes, including arranging the February 2012 murder of a real estate agent in the Philippines, for money.

The judge said she had never before seen such a "total and complete lack of respect for human life."

Abrams said Hunter had "planned and committed truly horrific crimes" and then spoke of kidnapping, torture and assassination to recruits as if "it was a business, plain and simple."

"I was struck by how matter-of-fact it was," said the judge, who recalled re-watching videos introduced at trial of Hunter instructing recruits as she prepared for the sentencing.

She said the only emotion she detected was pride as Hunter said the work would be like performing in a "James Bond" movie.

"This wasn't a movie. Real lives were taken," Abrams said.

The life prison sentence announced by Abrams was mandatory. Hunter, listed with the alias "Rambo" in an indictment, was serving a 20-year prison term after another conviction.

Hunter, who served in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2004, declined to speak before the sentence was announced. In the Army, Hunter led air-assault and airborne infantry squads, served as a sniper instructor and trained soldiers in marksmanship.

Prosecutors said after leaving the military, Hunter tortured, kidnapped and killed people for years along with other former soldiers.

But it was the killing of a Philippines real estate agent, Catherine Lee, that resulted in a conviction at trial and Thursday's sentencing.

Prosecutors said Hunter and two other ex-American soldiers agreed to become contract killers for an international crime boss who wanted to settle a score with the broker.

Two other ex-soldiers, Adam Samia, 44, and Carl David Stillwell, 51, both of Roxboro, North Carolina, arranged for Lee to show them several real estate properties and Samia then shot Lee twice in the face with a pistol that had a silencer before he and Stillwell dumped her body on a pile of garbage, prosecutors said.

Samia and Stillwell, convicted at trial along with Hunter, were already sentenced to life in prison by Abrams.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: "With zero regard for human life, Joseph Hunter callously helped to arrange the murder of a Filipino woman in exchange for money. He and his co-defendants have now been sentenced to life behind bars for their heartless crimes."

A defence lawyer, Arnold Jay Levine, had cited post-traumatic stress disorder as a mitigating factor, saying years in the military had taken a toll on Hunter.

"The country still owes something to Mr. Hunter," he said.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
  • Rewards for missing pets occupy legal grey zone
    KELOWNA - John Brooke was walking in the woods near Glenrosa two weeks ago when his dog Gus went missing. Brooke said he lost sight of his dog and spent the next two hours whistling for him to no
  • UPDATE: No injuries in Trans-Canada Highway avalanche
    REVELSTOKE — The Trans-Canada Highway near Revelstoke is currently closed after an avalanche hit this afternoon. A small natural avalanche occurred 46 km east of Revelstoke at about 1
  • Penticton man gets two years for sexual interference with daughter
    CONTENT ADVISORY PENTICTON - A Penticton man has pleaded guilty to sexually interfering with his daughter and was sentenced to two years in prison today. The 46-year-old Penticton ma
  • Salmon Arm man fined $3,000 for poaching cow moose
    SALMON ARM - A Salmon Arm man has been fined $3,000 and had two firearms confiscated for poaching a cow moose out of season. B.C. Conservation Officer Service spokesperson Tanner Beck said t
  • TRENDING NOW: Voice actress trolls scammer
    %%nodefaultimage%% Rosie Okumura is a California-based artist who likes to have a little fun with scammers. In the first part of the video she explains the scam that targets film indus
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile