Soldier Was Found Dead in Barracks on New Year's Eve — and Serviceman Allegedly Raped Her Previously

Authorities at Fort Bliss in Texas have decided to court-martial a private first class who stands accused of sexually assaulting a fellow soldier after she turned up dead on New Year's Eve.

The name of the accused soldier has not been released, but in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, a Fort Bliss spokesman said the order was issued Jan. 8.

Maj. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, 1st Armored Division commander, personally ordered "the referral of charges" against the soldier to a general court-martial, reads the statement.

"The referred charges include one specification alleging the sexual assault of Pfc. Asia M. Graham," the statement adds. "A military judge will be detailed to the case to arraign the solider and docket a trial date."

Graham, 19, told relatives she had been raped by another solider in December 2019.

The sexual assault occurred less than a month after she moved to the base.

According to Fort Bliss officials, Graham lodged a complaint against the soldier, alleging sexual assault, on June 1, 2020. In the complaint, Graham alleged the crime occurred in December 2019.

Graham's complaint was investigated by the Army Criminal Investigative Command, and in late October 2020, a formal sexual assault charge was filed. That charge was still pending adjudication Monday.

On Dec. 31, 2020, Graham was found unresponsive in her barracks. Not long afterwards, she was pronounced dead by Fort Bliss officials.

At this point, investigators do not suspect foul play in Graham's death.

Graham was a Human Resource Specialist who joined the US. Army in July 2019 from Cherryville, North Carolina.

Graham's was one of two soldier deaths to occur in Texas last week. Staff Sgt. Jessica Mitchell, a drill sergeant at the U.S. Army Medical Center for Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, was found shot to death in her car on New Year's Day.

San Antonio police received calls about a stranded car along Interstate 10 early that morning, and arrived to find Mitchell's white Dodge Charger shot up. Mitchell, who was only 30, was inside. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Within the last year, several soldiers have either died or been killed in Texas, including 31 soldiers connected to Fort Hood, where there were 11 reported suicides and five homicides.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

The murder of Vanessa Guillen, a small arms repairer with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, ended up generating the most headlines.

Before vanishing on April 22, 2020, the 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier told her family an army specialist had been sexually harassing her.

Her dismembered body was found in late June. The very same day Guillen's remains were discovered, her killer, 20-year-old Spc. Aaron Robinson, died by suicide as police were closing in to arrest him.

Source: Read Full Article