The fireplace mantel in Anthony Todd Saxon's rural Georgia home was decorated with ordnance and ammunition. He would put on a combat uniform most mornings sprinkled with honors and insignia and say he was headed to nearby Fort Gordon. And his family came to town last week to say goodbye before he left for what Saxon said was a secretive mission to Iraq or Afghanistan.
The problem, prosecutors say, is that Saxon is not the U.S. Army master sergeant that he pretended to be. He hasn't served in the Armed Forces since he was discharged from the Florida National Guard in 1994. But authorities say he visited Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia at least 10 times in the last few months and twice persuaded officials there to give him high-tech military devices.
The case doesn't end there. During a court hearing Monday, prosecutors said they confiscated a camouflage bag from Saxon last week stuffed with a live M-14 anti-personnel mine, flash-bang grenades and night-vision devices. They found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a Kevlar helmet, among other equipment, in his car. Authorities have not said how they believe he acquired the items.
Saxon was arrested wearing a combat uniform, including rank and insignia, at Fort Gordon last week and charged with impersonating an officer and obtaining a laser targeting sight by telling an officer he was a master sergeant. He also faces charges of stealing a silencer and possessing an explosive and firearms even though he's a convicted felon.
Saxon's attorney Danny Durham said his client's obsession with the military warped his mind, but he asserted there is no evidence that Saxon meant "ill will." Saxon's father Hugh said Monday his son was so "passionate" about the military he went to great lengths to convince relatives he was serving.