Had Thomas Chestnut waited just one more day, his back pay would have arrived.
Valerie L. Mongello, an Army spokeswoman, told the Herald in an email that Chestnut’s final net pay from the time he spent in military prison at Fort. Leavenworth, Kan., was released to his bank account on Feb. 23.
Chestnut was released from prison on Dec. 23, after an appellate court overturned his guilty verdict in a sexual assault case. He was honorably discharged, and awarded pay from the time he spent in Fort Leavenworth. Based on the basic pay charts for a private first class — Chestnut’s rank when convicted — he could have been owed at least $61,500.
According to court records, Chestnut made verbal threats on Feb. 22 when he called and spoke with a sergeant at Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division, where Chestnut was a former soldier.
“Chestnut threatened to go to Fort Hood, kill the sergeant, take hostages, start a mass killing spree and then kill himself if he was not allowed to speak with someone of rank,” a news release issued on March 15 said. “Chestnut then spoke with a major and advised that he was a former soldier wrongly accused of a crime and eventually released from prison in 2016.”
On June 24, 2014, Chestnut was found guilty by a military jury on one count of sexual assault and found not guilty on one specification of assault consummated by a battery. Chestnut, who is gay, was accused of the sexual assault of a man at Fort Sam Houston in August 2012. He said during the trial that the encounter was consensual.
The case is in U.S. federal court in Waco. On March 23, Chestnut entered a plea of “not guilty.” A detention hearing is set for April 4.
Chestnut was originally appointed two attorneys by the state. He is now represented by just one, Waco-based Bradford J. Glendening.
Military Editor David Bryant contributed to this report.