Woman in Iraq war hoax arrested again

A woman who concocted a tale about her husband being killed in combat in Iraq is accused of violating her probation.

Sarah Kenney, 29, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to a felony count of criminal impersonation to gain a benefit, was advised Tuesday morning by District Judge Valerie Robison on an arrest warrant that was filed by the Mesa County Probation Department in March 2008.

The warrant alleges Kenney, formerly a Clifton resident, failed to show for meetings with her probation officer on Dec. 3, 2007, Dec. 30 of that year and March 27, 2008. Probation officials also said she has not completed court-ordered mental health treatment.

Kenney, sitting at the defendant’s table next to her husband Tuesday morning, acknowledged she hadn’t followed the judge’s orders.

“If this court is willing to give me another chance, I will do what’s right,” Kenney told the judge.

Kenney said she now lives in Weld County, where her son is enrolled in school. Robison agreed to allow Kenney to return to Weld County as her new case makes its way through the system in Grand Junction. She is scheduled to return to court later this month.

In a deferred judgment, Kenney was sentenced in 2005 to serve four years of probation and complete mental-health treatment and 50 hours of community service. The sentence afforded Kenney the chance to wipe her felony conviction off her record, if she stayed out of trouble for four years.

If convicted in her new case, Kenney could be placed back on probation or be sentenced to prison for a term between six to 18 months.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Lisa McCammon said Kenney was served with her new warrant Dec. 24 and arrested in Weld County. Local officers made attempts to contact Kenney after the warrant was issued in March 2008, but couldn’t locate her, according to Susan Gilbert, Mesa County’s chief probation officer.

Kenney’s original case drew national attention after her claims of her husband’s combat death in Iraq — widely reported by Grand Junction media outlets — were proven false in February 2005. A local organization, Homefront Heroes, also took up Kenney’s cause and made public appeals to assist Kenney and her family.

The story was later the subject of an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”


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