- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (AP) — A former Marine stationed at Fort Lee has avoided jail time after a judge convicted him of a lesser offense for choking an Uber driver.

Media outlets report Judge T.J. Hauler convicted 23-year-old Maxwell Sweeney of misdemeanor vandalism and imposed a 12-month suspended jail sentence on each count for the April 24 attack.

Sweeney pleaded no contest in September to felony wounding and misdemeanor vandalism. The lesser charges came after the judge learned Sweeney was expelled from the Marines with an “Other than Honorable Discharge” - the most severe type of military administrative discharge.

According to evidence, Uber driver Rene Ernesto Sanchez Espinozo picked up Sweeney and a friend after the men were drinking at a Richmond bar. Police say that during the drive, Sweeney reached from the back seat and began choking Espinozo.

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