Your letters can help an East Tennessee soldier in prison

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Monroe County (WVLT) -- A Sweetwater soldier, now serving ten years in prison for killing unarmed Iraqis will get a second chance to reduce his sentence.

Ray Girouard will get a clemency hearing at Fort Leavenworth next month.

Family members hope the board that reviews his case will see Ray's good side and send him home.

It has bee a year since former Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard was convicted of negligent homicide in the shooting deaths of three Iraqi detainees.

His clemency hearing is scheduled for February 21st at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

"We expect the worst and hope for the best," said Joy Oakes, Girouard’s sister.

A family friend got to see Ray just before Christmas.

"I was surprised that he looked so good and had a good attitude,” said Marci Robbins, “He just looked healthy and he seemed ok."

Ray along with three other Army personnel were convicted in the shooting deaths of the unarmed Iraqis.

Oakes said Ray is remorseful about what happened, even though he wasn't there when the shootings took place.

“He made a loyal choice and he feels bad that he covered up for his men," said Oakes.

His sister also said she was disturbed by an email she received from Juston Graber, who got a light sentence in exchange for his testimony against Girouard and the others.

In the email, Graber said quote “I didn't want to take the deal because I didn't want to testify against him. Then my lawyers told me that's why they were trying me first, because either way they were going to make me. I felt like I was betraying a brother."

"I think if we had this a year ago, it would have definitely helped a lot," said Oakes.

But she is focusing on her brother's clemency hearing.

Girouard has been getting a lot of support and his sister hopes people will put a pen to paper to help.

"That letter will show this board that this community still wants Ray home, that they support him and that they know he will be a productive citizen,” she said.

Family members hope many people in the community will send letters of support for Ray.

The deadline is February 10th.
You can get the address to send a letter of support by clicking on the Hot Key.

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