Man asks judge to delay sentencing to save military pension

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A man convicted of committing sex crimes against a child at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne is asking a federal judge to delay his sentencing hearing for a few months so he can qualify for a military pension.

Wyoming Army National Guard Lt. Timothy Wells was convicted in federal court in October of sexual exploitation of a child and other charges. He faces at least 15 years in prison, federal prosecutors say.

Jim Barrett, one of Wells' lawyers at the Federal Public Defender's Office, recently asked U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne to release Wells from custody temporarily and push his scheduled sentencing hearing back from next Tuesday until April so he can finish 20 years of military service necessary for a pension.

"Mr. Wells, as this court is aware, is a member of the armed services," Barrett wrote. "He is a matter of months away from obtaining his twenty year retirement. If released, Mr. Wells could serve the necessary number of days to procure retirement. This is expected to be completed by late March, 2016. Mr. Wells desires release to obtain this retirement in order to fulfill his financial obligations to his family while he is incarcerated."

Barrett was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, his office stated. David Weiss, another assistant federal public defender representing Wells, declined comment.

Federal prosecutors are urging Johnson to deny Wells' request to be released for a few months pending sentencing.

Prosecutor Thomas Szott wrote to Johnson last week stating Wells, 47, doesn't deserve any special consideration. "If his crimes have in fact cost him his twenty-year retirement, he must bear that loss as a consequence of the choices he made. His detention pending sentencing remains appropriate," Szott wrote.

Szott also stated it's unclear that Wells would in fact have to be released in order to qualify for the pension. Szott stated that his office consulted with the Wyoming Army National Guard and understands that Wells will attain the required twenty years of military service this March even if he's not released.

Szott stated Wells should have to substantiate his assertions at a court hearing before Johnson would consider releasing him from custody.

John R. Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne, declined comment Tuesday on Wells' request to be released pending sentencing.

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