It looks like the strange saga of a Southern California man accused by the U.S. Attorney of posing as a war hero -- uniform, Purple Heart, the whole get-up -- is coming to an end: Authorities on Friday announced that 39-year-old Steven Burton has agreed to plead guilty to unauthorized display of official medals.
He's scheduled to enter his plea Dec. 14 in Riverside federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Sentencing for such a crime carries a maximum of one year in a U.S. lock-up, but we assume the judge will give him a break as a result of his cooperation. (Burton originally faced multiple counts).
(WARNING: NSFW photos after the jump).
A U.S. Navy Commander happened upon Burton at a high school reunion. She found him and his full Naval dress, rare (and, by the way, very real) medals and young appearance suspicious. He was known to wear medallions that signified the highest honors available in the Navy and other armed forces, including the Purple Heart. But she apparently had never heard of the man.
The whistle-blower asked to take photo with him and later sent the image to authorities who dragged Burton into court. Here's where the story gets strange: After we wrote about Burton, a male reader told the Weekly that he had an online relationship with the suspect, who he said had claimed to be a Marine.
Our tipster told us Burton allegedly liked to cruise gay bars while dressed in his military garb. We're not sure if the claims are true, but the man sent us other pictures that might or might not be Burton (you decide), including:
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