Fugitive soldier turns himself in at Stuttgart
Stars and Stripes August 22, 2009
The U.S. Special Forces soldier who fled after being convicted in a court-martial of kidnapping, forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual assault has turned himself in to military authorities.
Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, 36, surrendered at the military police station at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, at 10 p.m. Friday, according to Master Sgt. Gary Cryder, the provost sergeant for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.
Stewart was then escorted by military police from Stuttgart to the Army confinement facility on Coleman Barracks in Mannheim. He arrived at Mannheim at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, according to Cryder.
Cryder, who was not present when Stewart surrendered, said Stewart first called investigators and told them he was turning himself in. He said he did not know when Stewart called.
A manhunt began Thursday morning after Stewart failed to show for the sentencing phase of his trial in Vilseck, Germany. A court-martial panel had found him guilty late Wednesday of the charges stemming from an August 2008 incident involving a German woman.
A soldier who was sharing an on-post hotel room with the convicted soldier told the court Thursday that he awoke around 7:30 a.m. and found Stewart was missing along with his Class A uniform, wallet, two cell phones and a rental car. Police located the vehicle Friday morning near the Panzer Kaserne family housing in Stuttgart.
Stewart was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison, given a dishonorable discharge and reduced to the rank of E-1.
During the court-martial he was found not guilty of rape, abusive sexual contact and communicating a threat. He could have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.