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:
“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.