He was sentenced only to one year in prison and a dishonorable discharge (a mark of shame in and of itself for anyone who has served in the miliary.) Given that the traditional punishment for desertion is execution, Mejia got off pretty easy.
As is typical with so many "courageous" protesters, Mejia didn't plead guilty and take his punishment like a man. He instead used various claims under international law in an attempt to avoid conviction and punishment.
Mejia has since become a darling of the anti-war movement, or at least that part of it that doesn't understand the concept of honesty and honor when serving in uniform.
The Billings Gazette editorial staff should be ashamed of itself for printing a version of Mejia's apologia -- on the day after Independence Day, no less.