Jury reaches verdict in Thomas Chestnut trial

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Just after noon on Tuesday, a jury found Thomas Chestnut Jr. guilty on 2 counts of threat in federal court. Chestnut will be sentenced Dec. 1st.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday morning.

The two counts include making a threat to kill soldiers on Fort Hood and making a direct threat to kill Sgt. & his family.

Thomas Anthony Chestnut, Jr was charged with one count of interstate communications with threat to injure and could face up to five years in federal prison.

He was accused of making the threats in conversation with a sergeant with the First Cavalry Division, saying he would kill the sergeant, conduct a mass shooting then kill himself if he was not allowed to speak to someone of rank regarding being wrongly accused of a crime.

Chestnut was scheduled to testify in his own behalf Monday afternoon,  but court was adjourned without that happening.

His attorney had advised him not to do so.

The FBI agent who testified Monday sat with prosecutors Tuesday.

The agent had testified that Chestnut had admitted making the threat but said he had no intention of actually carrying it out.

He testified that Chestnut had no weapons with him when he was arrested two days after the threats were made.

During closing arguments prosecutors referred to witnesses who answered the phone during the call back in February as saying Chestnut was irate, reminding jurors that the sergeant had testified that Chestnut had threatened to kill him and his family.

The defense attorney told the jury to consider the circumstances of Chestnut’s frustrations with being convicted of a crime, then having the conviction overturned and finding roadblocks in trying to get his back pay.

He also pointed out what he called inconsistencies in testimony.

Chestnut appeared calm and relaxed during closing arguments.

Chestnut had been  found guilty by a military jury June 24, 2014, of one charge of sexual assault and found not guilty of one charge of assault consummated by a battery in an incident alleged to have occurred at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in 2012.

Chestnut was sentenced to a three-year prison term.

His conviction was overturned on Dec. 24, 2016, and he was released from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is no longer in the U.S. military.

FBI agents arrested Chestnut without incident on February 24, 2017. He has remained in federal custody since.

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