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Twenty years behind bars. That's the sentence for an air force training instructor found guilty of sexually assaulting female trainees.
Staff Sergeant Luis Walker could have been sentenced to life without parole. But after hearing testimony from Walker's family and several of his victims, the jury of six men and one woman opted for a lighter sentence.
The Air Force says the 26-year-old is a sexual predator who used his power as a training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base to assault ten trainees.
"We need a safe, secure training environment,” said Air Force spokesperson Colonel Polly Kenny. “Unfortunately, for the ten victims, that was not the case."
Before sentencing, five of those victims gave emotional testimony about the personal and professional toll of walker's abuse.
One woman spoke of breaking off an engagement.
Others said they have trouble sleeping now, can no longer trust men, and regret joining the military.
The defense tried to paint Walker in a more sympathetic light through his wife, sister, and step-dad.
Prosecutors asked the jury to send a message with its punishment and give walker a forty-year sentence. Walker got half that, with the possibility of parole after six years.
Staff Sergeant Walker also received a dishonorable discharge.
Once he's released from prison, he'll have to register as a sex offender.
Investigators say at least thirty-one female trainees and twelve instructors are believed to be involved in this scandal.
2 North Texas men charged with neglecting pony
June 18, 2013 02:54 GMT
SPRINGTOWN, Texas (AP) -- Two North Texas men are facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly neglecting a Shetland pony that was malnourished, suffering from an infected wound and living in squalid conditions.
The owner of the pony, Jesse Ray Cross, and the pony's caretaker, Franky Lynn Hatcher-Cross, are free on bond after being arrested Saturday on charges of cruelty to livestock animals.
The pony was found in Springtown, located about 60 miles northwest of Dallas. Investigators say the pony was severely underweight and had no food or clean water nearby.
Veterinarian staff treating the pony say they will have to wait for its infection to improve before they can operate.
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler says he will care for the animal and pay for its treatment. He has renamed the pony Achilles.
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