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Soldier charged in Fayetteville rapes; second suspect sought

Posted March 12, 2010

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— A Fort Bragg soldier was charged Friday in connection with several sexual assaults in Fayetteville and Hoke County, but authorities said they are still looking for a different man in a highly publicized string of rapes in the Fayetteville area last year.

Army Spc. Aaron Michael Pernell, 22, was charged with three counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping, one count of attempted first-degree rape, five counts of attempted second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, four counts of assault on a female, six counts of first-degree burglary and one count each of first-degree sex offense and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Fayetteville rapes news conference Web only: Charges filed in some rapes, not others

Authorities said the charges stemmed from three incidents in Fayetteville and three in Hoke County, but they declined to provide details of the cases other than to say they occurred in 2008 and 2009.

Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said in January that DNA evidence linked a rape case that occurred east of Raeford last August with an unsolved rape in Fayetteville. It's unclear if those cases were among the the six cases in which Pernell is charged.

Members of a task force investigating the Fayetteville rapes have never publicly linked a Hoke County case with the others.

Pernell was charged last month with two burglaries and a sexual assault on Fort Bragg in December. He was then named a person of interest in a string of rapes and burglaries in the Fayetteville area.

Between last June and early January, a man broke into six residences – usually an apartment – in Fayetteville and one in Hope Mills late at night while a woman was home alone, according to police reports. In an eighth case, a Fayetteville woman fought off her attacker.

"One thing the task force did was determine that we had two separate people," Peterkin said at a news conference Friday. "I feel that we will now be able to do a whole lot more with this other suspect."

Sketch of Fayetteville rapes suspect Second man sought in Fayetteville rapes

Authorities issued a sketch of a man believed to be responsible for the series of attacks, and they asked anyone who might recognize the person in the sketch to call a tip line at 910-433-1934.

They declined to say how or when they developed the sketch.

Capt. Mark Bridgeman of the Fayetteville Police Department declined to comment when asked why investigators didn't notify people earlier that there were two people suspected of committing several sexual assaults.

Fayetteville City Council members expressed frustration in January about the lack of public notice by police to the string of rapes. City officials changed the reporting policy to require police to notify the public within 72 hours of a sexual assault where the suspect is unknown.

No sexual assaults have been reported since January that could be linked to the second suspect, Bridgeman said.

Pernell remains in military custody at Fort Bragg, authorities said. Maj. Brian Fickel, spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division, said the Army would work with local authorities to coordinate prosecution of the various cases.

7 Comments

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  • The Fox Mar 12, 2010

    This smeagol looking dude is a soldier?

  • james27613 Mar 12, 2010

    He is a disgrace to the entire us population.

    He also violated UCMJ, Congressional Code of Military Criminal Law applicable to all military members worldwide.

  • Eduardo1 Mar 12, 2010

    wildcat...why is he a disgrace to all soldiers. If he was an engineer, would he be a disgrace to all engineers? teresaengel.according to Rev Barber of our local NAACP, calling him an animal is a racist remark!
    If this person is found guilty, cover him in some good tasty burger king grease, put him in a pen with Michael Vicks "pets"

  • airbornemonty Mar 12, 2010

    I have suspected something like this would eventually begin happen.

    I say that because our troops are stretched entirely too thin in the conflicted countries of the world so we begin recruiting out of the gutters trying to somehow fill our depleted military ranks.

  • BigBangTheorist Mar 12, 2010

    The Army is more likely to inflict a harsher punishment on this animal than the civilian court can. May he spend the rest of his days doing hard time at Leavenworth. That's where he belongs, no rehabilitation, nothing.

  • wildcat Mar 12, 2010

    He is a disgrace to all soldiers. They should court martial him and send him to federal prison for 50 years.

  • working for deadbeats Mar 12, 2010

    Does this mean that all military soldiers are rapists? I had to ask since we generalize everybody on here, especially law enforcement.

    I'm glad to see an arrest was made.