Cherokee Co. man indicted for lying about Purple Heart | Crime
CANTON Ga. -- A grand jury indicted a Canton man for allegedly lying about heroic service to his country. Shane Ladner was arrested in June 2013 after a six-week investigation by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office determined he was lying about earning a Purple Heart. Tuesday, a grand jury moved the case forward with an indictment.
Ladner said he was wounded by shrapnel from a grenade explosion in Central America when his unit came under hostile fire while serving in the Army. He said he was awarded a Purple Heart for his actions in that attack.
Ladner was indicted for six counts of making false statements and theft by taking. The theft by deception charges come from Ladner receiving a Purple Heart license plate in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Ladner was among the veterans injured when the float they were riding on in a parade in Midland, Texas in Nov. 2012 was struck by a train. Ladner's wife was seriously injured and lost a leg in the same accident.
When his client was first arrested, attorney John Cook released a statement insisting Ladner did receive a Purple Heart:
"This arrest serves no purpose other than to continue to traumatize Shane and Meg Ladner, both of whom are still recovering from last year's train accident. We are confident in our ability to defend Shane against these charges and plan to do so. All along, our investigation has shown that, in fact, Shane did receive a Purple Heart for injuries received in service to his country. When all of the information finally comes to light, plenty of people will owe Shane an apology."
During a three month investigation by 11Alive, the US Army said they had no record of Ladner's Purple Heart. Ladner showed 11Alive a form, the DD214, provided to him when he left service. On the copy provided to 11Alive, it says he has a Purple Heart. But when 11Alive reached out to Army Records and the National Guard, they would not provide a record of this document.
The grand jury passed down the indictment Tuesday in Cherokee County Superior Court. Forty-five witnesses were listed as testifying, including men who served with Ladner.