Stolen Valor: Marine vet faces prison time for stealing story of fellow Marine who lost both legs in Iraq

Casey Owens, a Purple Heart recipient, was thrown 30 feet when the Humvee he was riding in ran over a double stacked IED in 2004. One of his legs was blown off and the other was badly mangled.

“He had hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in his body,” his sister told the ABC affiliate in north Texas.

Fellow Marine Brandon Blackstone joined the Corps in 2004 and served in the same unit with Owens in Iraq. According to WFAA, Blackstone was nearby, with another platoon, at the time of the explosion that injured Owens.

Blackstone traveled around the country for years, talking about how he’d been injured in Iraq when his Humvee ran over a land mine, WFAA reported. He stole Owens’ story essentially, claiming that he suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as leg and ankle injuries.

Marine veteran Casey Owens (Twitter/Anthony Riddle)
Marine veteran Casey Owens (Twitter/Anthony Riddle)

In 2012, Blackstone reportedly lied about receiving the Purple Heart to get a mortgage-free house from a wounded war charity. He also reportedly falsified records to receive disability checks for almost a decade.

“When I signed up, I basically felt like I had written the Marine Corps a blank check for the price of my life and I felt cast away,” Blackstone once said.

One day, he made the mistake of showing a picture of the mangled Humvee to one of Owens’ friends and claimed he was injured in that explosion. He claimed on YouTube videos (at top of article) that he was 100% disabled. As the story began to spread among other Marines who served with Owens, it became clear that Blackstone had been conning people for years. One of the Marines went to the FBI and an investigation was launched.

Blackstone recently pled guilty to “felony counts related to the deception” and will be sentenced in February. He faces up to 21 years in prison.

Casey Owens committed suicide on October 15, 2014 after losing his ongoing battle with Post Traumatic Stress disorder.

“I just want it to be a closed case so that these guys know their Marine is OK…He’s standing at the gates of Valhalla. And he’s proud of them and they’re proud of him. That’s what matters most to me.” Owens’ sister said.

She told WFAA that her brother fought hard to live. “…But the years of repeated amputations, pain and problems caused by the injuries to his brain proved to be just too much.”

“Casey wasn’t perfect but he stepped up,” she said. “That’s what makes him a hero to me.”

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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