Tag Archives: dishonorable discharge

TDIA Book Excerpt: ‘I Wasn’t Going To Be That Dog’

Despite the fact prosecutors presented no evidence or eyewitnesses, members of a U.S. Army court-martial panel found Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart guilty of sexually assaulting a 29-year-old German woman with whom he admitted having had a one-night stand one year earlier. Below is an excerpt from my book, Three Days In August, about what happened in the life of this elite Green Beret after he was railroaded by the politically-correct military justice system:

Click on image above to order book.

Click on image above to order book.

“So, they find me guilty. It’s late at night. In an instant, my whole life got flushed right down the toilet,” said Stewart, recalling the verdict that changed his life just before midnight on August 19, 2009. “I am smart enough to know that my life is screwed. The rest of my life.  No matter what. My life is done.

“Clearly, I felt that I was shafted, and I knew there was no way to fix it,” he explained. “This is an analogy I use. It might come across as messed up, but this is my analogy, and this is why I chose to do what I did.

“I was not going to have everybody do prison time with me,” said Stewart, recalling his thoughts after a court-martial panel found him guilty of sex crimes against a German woman and handed down a sentence that included a reduction in rank, from E-7 to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, eight years of confinement and a recommendation for dishonorable discharge upon release.

“I wasn’t going to go to prison and have my kids have to go through having their dad in prison and my wife having to stand by my side and go without a husband for years—and, at that time, I didn’t know the length of the years,” said Stewart, a Special Forces combat medic and Level One-trained sniper. “I didn’t know the length of my sentence; I just knew that I was found guilty.”

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart's uniform was covered with signs of his life as a Top One Percent Special Forces Soldier. Click on image above to order book.

Kelly A. Stewart’s uniform was covered with signs of his life as a Top One Percent Special Forces Soldier.

That’s when he made a decision.

“I never thought I was going to prison,” Stewart said. “When I got back after (being convicted), I had a reality check in the hotel room” at the Krystal Inn, the on-post hotel where he was staying near the court building where his trial was taking place at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

About the only plans he made took place during the last intermission in the courtroom before his guilty verdict was announced. After calling his wife and telling her he wouldn’t be coming home soon, Stewart also called his military-friendly bank, USAA, and transferred all of the money in his account into his wife’s account.

“I already knew what I was gonna do,” he recalled.

Back in their room at the Krystal Inn, Stewart and his buddy, Sergeant First Class Detrick Hampton, laid in their beds and talked most of the night until Sergeant Hampton fell asleep around 5 a.m. Less than an hour later, Stewart began to implement his hastily-crafted plan.

Careful not to wake Sergeant Hampton, Stewart got up out of his bed about an hour later, put on his Army Combat Uniform and low-quarter shoes and collected a few items—including a combat knife and a rubber band—he thought he might need. Oddly, he left his black Army jump boots in the room.

Kelly Stewart on a gun truck in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart on a gun truck in Iraq.

Quietly, he walked out of his second-floor room at the Krystal Inn where, even after he was found guilty, he was not kept under guard—an indication, perhaps, that some in the Army still didn’t think he was as dangerous as the charges, eventual conviction and news media coverage of his case might have indicated. He had, after all, never been deemed a danger to others or a flight risk.

Because he had not planned to go away for a long time, Stewart didn’t prepare by gathering lots of clothes, money and 16 passports. Instead, he ensured only that he had enough money for gas to go where he needed to go to take his own life. And with three combat tours in Iraq and other stints in Kosovo and Macedonia under his belt, he knew enough about medicine to make it happen.

Once outside the hotel room, Stewart walked the short distance to a staircase in the center of the building, down a single flight of stairs and through an open-air hallway out to the parking lot where his rental car, an Audi Q5, was parked.

He drove the SUV a short distance to the Shoppette—the name the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gives its convenience stores located on military installations—where he purchased a laundry list of items:  three 50-count bottles of Tylenol caplets, one 72-count package of Sominex tablets, two 16-ounce bottles of Gatorade Riptide Rush, some writing paper and a couple of pencils.”

Find out what happened next in the life of this man who sacrificed so much for his country only to be betrayed! Order a copy of Three Days In August.

To read other articles about the the wrongful prosecution of Sergeant Stewart, including one about a post-trial statement that should have netted him a new trial, click here.

To read about other cases of military justice run amok, click here.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Mom Pens Heartfelt Message About Son’s Bogus Conviction

After publishing an article Thursday afternoon about the Army’s prosecution of Sgt. Todd Knight on allegations he raped a woman while stationed in Germany, I shared a link to the article with Knight’s mother, Teresa McQueen, and she replied about two hours later with a heartfelt message about the chain of events during which her son was found guilty of sexual assault, sentenced to one year in prison, a loss of rank to the lowest enlisted grade and, upon completion of his sentence, a dishonorable discharge and a life spent as a convicted sex offender. Below, with her permission, I share her reply:

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

Wow.  I can’t believe that these women are allowed to continue with their daily lives as if they did not ruin a person’s career and life. I was so proud of my son for choosing to join the military. His love of the military is what inspired his younger two siblings to join the military. Todd has suffered so much as a result of this.  Each year he is forced to go through the process of registering as a sex offender which is especially difficult for him since he knows that the alleged victim lied. He is forced to commute well over an hour a day to work — and that is with good traffic — because its easier for him to live in a more rural area.

Earlier this month, the military started garnishing his paycheck to repay the reenlistment bonus he was given prior to this incident. So now, depending on how much overtime he works, approximately $400 is taken out of each of his paychecks until a balance of $20,000 is paid.  He didn’t even get $20,000 as an enlistment bonus which leads us to believe the military is actually charging him interest!

This photo shows Todd Knight in his Army uniform prior to being accused of rape and convicted on a lesser charge.

This photo shows Todd Knight in his Army uniform prior to being accused of rape and convicted on a lesser charge.

To be quite honest, I do not know how Todd pushes through, day after day, but he does.  He is such a “glass half full” person and is always trying to help others.  In fact, sadly, it is he who is constantly consoling me about this whole situation.  I have never felt so powerless in my life.  I wish you could have been at Todd’s court-martial.  He was guilty before the trial even began.  As his family, we had to watch how his command turned on him.  While food and water was brought to the alleged victim, Todd, who was supposed to have been considered innocent at that time, and his family (myself, his sister and step-father), were forced to go without eating lest we not make it back in time for when the trial resumed.  They knew we did not have a vehicle and were dependent on them for a ride.

However, what I found most disturbing was that we were not allowed in the courtroom during Todd’s trial. So we could not give him the support of at least seeing a friendly face and knowing that he was not in this alone. The alleged victim was allowed to be in the courtroom with one of her friends. I can only imagine, the panel probably believed he was such a terrible person (that) his own family did not feel it was necessary to be with him during this terrible ordeal.

His lawyer told me repeatedly prior to the trial, that I needed to prepare myself because, short of the alleged victim retracting her story at trial, he would be convicted. Having a law degree myself (although not being familiar with criminal law and having a father who is a public defender), never in my wildest dreams did I think they would actually convict him based on the evidence presented at trial. Little did I know that all it takes is to be accused of sexual assault.  Once you are accused, it’s a done deal. There is no “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s ‘You’re guilty, and we will just see how much time you will get.’”

When Todd began serving his sentence, his apartment was literally a ‘free for all,’ thanks to his immediate superiors, the people who were supposed to be making sure his apartment was packed up and his belongs shipped to me in California. Because I believed his superiors were looking out for “one of their own,” I never bothered to go through any of the crates that were now being kept in storage until Todd’s release. It was not until about a month before Todd was scheduled to be released that I visited the storage unit to retrieve and wash his clothes so that he would have some form of normalcy by having his own things. Also, he told me he had a few suits which he had had tailored and should have been in (the storage unit). Because he had an interview scheduled for the week following his return, I wanted to have (the suits) dry cleaned.

It was with horror that I saw many of the things that were shipped were either not his or basically just trash. None of the items Todd said should have been shipped to me were included in that shipment. His computer was gone. His laptop was gone. His camcorder was gone. All of his computer software, his PS4 and its games were gone. His new flat screen TV was gone. There was not one piece of furniture delivered. As God is my witness, there wasn’t even one pair of shoes included in that shipment. Anyone who knows Todd knows he is a clothes and shoe hoarder.  Todd was single, he liked nice things, and he bought nice things. They took everything.  After a lot of complaining, they finally sent a second shipment of kitchenware and an old broken TV Todd actually did tell his command they could have.

At one point, I even learned one of his superiors was driving around in Todd’s car that was supposed to have been sold and the money given to Todd. After many calls to that guy and his superior, I was finally able to at least get something in writing which released Todd from any liability should someone have an accident in that vehicle.

Although Todd is trying to get on with his life and stay positive, there is always something — like the garnishment — that seems to make him move back five or six steps. He finally has a job that he loves and the people love him. However, now everyone knows that something is going on in Todd’s life, because his paychecks are being garnished by the military.

It’s very upsetting to me as I am sure you can imagine. No one deserves to have something like this happen to them. Everyone deserves a fair trial. Do you know that after Todd’s conviction, in order to try to get the least amount of time as possible, they actually expected him to apologize to the alleged victim. Although at the time, believing he would end up with more like seven years, I encouraged Todd to just say what they wanted him to say if it meant he would get less time. But I must admit, Todd stuck to his guns and refused to apologize for something he did not do.

This whole thing has been a nightmare for me, and I’m not even the person who had to serve time and go through God only knows what while in prison. I just wish the military would rethink how they approach accusations of sexual assault. The accused is not guilty simply because the accuser says he is. With Todd’s investigation, they did not care if he was innocent. Their entire investigation stemmed on gathering only that evidence that would aid the prosecution in obtaining a guilty verdict, regardless of whether the accuser was guilty or not.

Sorry for the long rant. I am just heartbroken over this whole thing.

Stay tuned for updates on this case and other military justice cases I’m following.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Fellow Soldiers Support Wrongly-Convicted Green Beret

I interviewed Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart several times and have gotten to know him well during the past three years, but I will probably never know the former Green Beret as well as the Soldiers with whom he served combat tours in places like Kosovo and Iraq. After Stewart was tried and found guilty on bogus sexual assault-related charges during three days in August 2009, many of his brothers-in-arms wrote letters of support on his behalf.

Click graphic above to read letters written by Soldiers in support of Kelly A. Stewart (PDF).

Click graphic above to read letters written by Soldiers in support of Kelly A. Stewart (PDF).

Written by an Army officer who was serving with Stewart at the time he was accused of raping and kidnapping a then-28-year-old German woman, one of those letters (see excerpt below) addresses a few — but not all — of the problems with the prosecution that resulted in Stewart being sentenced to eight years confinement at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan:

Having testified at the trial, my greatest disappointment was his conviction without forensic evidence, without consideration of the alleged victim’s psychiatric history, and his conviction without consideration for why the victim left her phone number and never left the hotel room following sexual contact with PVT Stewart. I feel that some in the jury may have confused their disdain for PVT Stewart’s violation of his marriage covenant with his guilt as a violent sexual criminal. He was not on trial for adultery.*

Unfortunately, letters like the one above seemed to carry little weight with Army officials who considered them alongside other documents submitted as part of Stewart’s Request for Clemency packet.

While the letters spoke volumes about the respect Stewart earned from his fellow Soldiers, other pieces of information I pored over — including the Record of Trialconvinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the highly-decorated Stewart is a victim of the military justice system bowing to political correctness and pressure from the German government.

To learn more about why Stewart, a man who served his country honorably, should have never been prosecuted, more less convicted, order and read Three Days In August.

To provide financial assistance to Stewart and his family, click on the “DONATE” button at SaveThisSoldier.com, a website built and managed by Stewart’s dad, himself retired after more than 30 years of service in Air Force Special Operations.

*Editor’s Note: Stewart is referred to as a private in the excerpt above, because his sentence included a demotion to the Army’s lowest enlisted rank as well as prison time and a dishonorable discharge.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:19 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Court-Martial Verdict Changes SF Soldier’s Life Forever

After enduring two long days as the defendant in a high-profile court-martial, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart walked out of an Army courtroom in Germany, knowing his life would never be the same. In the excerpt (below) from the book, Three Days In August, I describe some of what Stewart, a highly-decorated Special Forces combat veteran and member of the elite Green Beret fraternity, was thinking at the time:

Kelly Stewart on gun truck.

Kelly Stewart on gun truck.

“So, they find me guilty. It’s late at night. In an instant, my whole life got flushed right down the toilet,” said Stewart, recalling the verdict that changed his life just before midnight on August 19,  2009. “I am smart enough to know that my life is screwed. The rest of my life. No matter what. My life is done.

“Clearly, I felt that I was shafted, and I knew there was no way to fix it,” he explained. “This is an analogy I use. It might come across as messed up, but this is my analogy, and this is why I chose to do what I did.

“I was not going to have everybody do prison time with me,” said Stewart, recalling his thoughts after a court-martial panel found him guilty of sex crimes against a German woman and handed down a sentence that included a reduction in rank, from E-7 to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, eight years of confinement and a recommendation for dishonorable discharge upon release.

“I wasn’t going to go to prison and have my kids have to go through having their dad in prison and my wife having to stand by my side and go without a husband for years—and, at that time, I didn’t know the length of the years,” said Stewart, a Special Forces combat medic and Level One-trained sniper.  “I didn’t know the length of my sentence; I just knew that I was found guilty.”

That’s when he made a decision.

To find out what decision he made, order a copy of Three Days In August.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.