Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No Charges for Soldier Who Paid to Be Shot in Leg to Avoid Iraq Tour

NEW YORK — A U.S. soldier who admitted he paid someone $500 to shoot him in the leg so he could avoid returning to Iraq will not face felony charges, though his wife and the gunman were indicted by a grand jury.

"I was hoping for the best, but preparing myself for the worst," said Army Pvt. Jonathan Aponte, 21, in Wednesday editions of The Daily News. "I went into the grand jury and told the truth, and I think they had sympathy for me," he added.

Aponte had claimed he was robbed and shot July 9 but changed his story when police questioned him. He was set to leave on another eight-month tour the same day he was shot.

He told police that he had joked with his wife about getting shot in the leg so he would not have to return to Iraq, but his wife apparently took him seriously: She said she knew someone who could do the job.

Aponte still faces misdemeanor charges, including falsely reporting an incident, that could send him to jail for up to a year. His wife, Alexandra Gonzalez, 22, was indicted on felony assault charges, along with the gunman.

Aponte's attorney, Marty Goldberg, said the grand jury appears to have a sympathetic side. "

Good thing the jury had a sympathetic side. Not much sympathy coming from government.


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