68ºF

Sutherland Springs shooter only served 9 months of original 12-month military confinement

HOUSTON – Channel 2 Investigates has confirmed with the United States Air Force that delusional mass murder Devin Kelley served a little more than nine months of his year-long confinement.  

An Air Force spokesperson tells Channel 2 Investigates that Kelley received time for “good behavior” and also was credited for time served in confinement following his escape from a New Mexico mental institution on June 7, 2012.

The Air Force said that 24 hours after being detained by law enforcement at an El Paso bus depot on June 7, 2012, Kelley was placed into pre-trial confinement at Holloman Air Force Base until his general court martial conviction on Nov. 7 of that year.

On that date, a military jury handed down a bad conduct discharge confinement for 12 months, as well as a reduction in rank to E-1 status.

The Air Force told Channel 2 Investigates Kelley then was immediately transferred to Miramar Naval for confinement where he was released on “excess leave” on March 31, 2013.

Kelley was “free to go wherever” and they did not have anyone monitor him post-release, the Air Force said, adding that when a soldier is out on “excess leave,” they routinely are not paid even though they are still service members. 

Less than three months following his release on June 17, 2013, the Comal County Sherriff’s Office investigated an alleged sexual assault where Kelley was listed as the suspect on a criminal offense report.

The Comal County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation “stalled” in October 2013 for reasons yet to be explained. The alleged incident occurred while Kelley’s conviction was being appealed.  

On Dec. 3, 2013, the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals “affirmed” Kelley’s conviction. 

The release on “good behavior” came nearly one year after Kelley escaped from the Peak Behavioral Health Services, a mental health facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Rick Rousseau, a retired Army colonel and judge advocate for 27 years, said Kelley’s time for good behavior comes down to one thing while in confinement: “It’s complying with their internal rules.”

There are options for prisoners to earn the time. 

“There may be different work details or different things that they can participate in to whether or not they can get good time as well,” Rousseau said.

According to a report by El Paso police, Xavier Alvarez, who is a former employee at Peak Behavioral Health, told officers responding to the escape that Kelley, who was 21 years old, had “suffered from mental disorders and had plans to run from the behavioral facility by purchasing a bus ticket out of state."

Alvarez also informed officers that Kelley “was a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base."

The report also stated that Kelley “was attempting to carry out death threats” he had made on his military superiors.  

An Air Force spokesman told Channel 2 Investigates they are investigating with Holloman Air Force Base to see if the statement made in the El Paso Police Department report is factual and if there was any discipline directed toward Kelley for the actions stated.

Alvarez told NBC News that Kelley was ordered to Peak Behavioral Health Services by the military.