"You have to know when to say enough is enough"

A Bronx soldier hires someone to shoot him in the leg to prevent his redeployment to Iraq.

Published July 16, 2007 6:43PM (EDT)

Jonathan Aponte was so scared of going back to the war in Iraq that last week, on the day he was scheduled to be redeployed, he and his wife paid a hit man $500 to shoot him in the leg. Now Aponte, his wife of 11 days and the man accused of the shooting face a variety of charges, including assault, conspiracy, falsely reporting an incident and harassment.

Aponte, 20, told the New York Daily News that he couldn't get the images of death he'd seen in his 10 months in Iraq out of his mind: "I have nightmares all the time. I hear people screaming, gunshots, explosions, and I can smell burning flesh in my dreams." He described watching a fellow soldier shoot herself in the head in the middle of the dining hall, and said, "I was not going back one way or another. Some people can handle it mentally, but some can't. You have to know when to say enough is enough ... I was desperate to stay home and at the end of my rope ... I couldn't deal with being in Iraq anymore. Would I risk going to prison? As far as being shot at, I think it's better."

By Julia Dahl

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