HUNT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) — Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance arrived back home in Hunt County this weekend after President Trump pardoned his prison sentence for actions made as a combat leader in 2013.
Lorance was was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering his men to fire upon three unarmed Afghan civilians — killing two of them. During his trial, nine members of his platoon testified against him.
Along with Lorance, Trump announced he would grant a full pardon to two other military servicemen.
On Saturday night, around 250 people — including family and friends — gathered at Bland High School in Merit to show their support for Lorance.
In a statement, the White House said a petition of 124,000 signatures pushed for clemency for the lieutenant.
And to his supporters, Lorance had this to say:
“I wanted to join the Army and just go be a solider, and I didn’t realize all this was going to happen. So, it’s kind of overwhelming for a country boy from the middle of nowhere… I guess all I have to say is I really appreciate my new American family. All of you are like brothers and sisters to me now.“
However, Pentagon officials advised against the pardons — saying they could potentially damage the military’s judicial system. They also stated concerns that the military’s discipline might be affected, as well as the confidence of U.S. allies that host American troops.