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Soldier pleads guilty to Fort Bragg rape, acquitted of burglaries

Posted December 8, 2010
Updated December 9, 2010

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— An 82nd Airborne Division soldier pleaded guilty Wednesday to breaking into a Fort Bragg home a year ago and raping a woman inside, but a military judge found him not guilty of two other burglaries on post.

Army Spc. Aaron Michael Pernell, 23, also is charged in connection with six sexual assaults in Fayetteville and Hoke County between 2008 and 2009. Trials in civilian courts on those charges haven't been scheduled.

Pernell pleaded guilty to one count each of rape, aggravated sexual contact, attempted aggravated sexual contact, assault consummated by battery and burglary. The charges stem from a Dec. 12, 2009, attack on a woman who lived in the Ste. Mere Eglise neighborhood on Fort Bragg.

During Wednesday's court-martial, Pernell told the judge that he broke into the home through an unlocked bathroom window at about 2 or 3 a.m. He said he found the woman sleeping with a baby and a small child and then outlined the assault in graphic detail.

"I told her, if she failed to do these things, she and her family would be subjected to death," he said, adding that she began to choke her when she refused to comply. "I caused her to come to a point where she was beginning to lose consciousness."

Investigators have said DNA from Pernell matched semen found on the clothing of the woman.

Pernell said he takes full responsibility for his actions in the case.

Two other homes in the same neighborhood were burglarized on Dec. 10 and Dec. 23 last year, but Col. Gary Brockington, the military judge overseeing the case, acquitted Pernell of the crimes after hearing from the two homeowners Wednesday.

Spc. Aaron Pernell leaves court Bragg soldier pleads guilty to rape

The woman in the Dec. 10 incident said she was "80 percent sure" Pernell was the man she saw in her home. She said she fled the house screaming when she saw him.

In the Dec. 23 case, the woman said she found Pernell drunk on the floor of a bedroom asking for his friend "Jason." The woman said she led him outside, telling him he had the wrong house, and Brockington said there was no evidence that any crime had occurred.

After he was detained by military investigators on Jan. 28, and an agent with the Army's Criminal Investigative Command has said, Pernell told the investigators that "Jason," a voice inside his head, instructed him to attack the woman.

"I myself would not commit these crimes. The voice in my head makes me do bad things," agent Jarrad Williams recalled Pernell telling investigators.

Family members have said that Pernell returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2006 as a changed, troubled man.

Pernell will be sentenced in the rape case Thursday, when he faces a possible life sentence in military prison.

37 Comments

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  • BullsEye Dec 8, 2010

    I wonder if he is just trying to get an insanity plea?

    They don't take too kindly to rapists in prison.

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom Dec 8, 2010

    ceverly - I hope that his little voice inside his head, "Jason", has informed him he is going to prison. What a vile human being!
    LOVE IT!!

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom Dec 8, 2010

    this is who we let serve for our country? men raping women in the military get off easy...trust me

  • wildcat Dec 8, 2010

    MONITOR IS VERY SLOW IN RESPONDING TO THE COMMENTS AND MAKING THEM PUBLIC.

  • RB-1 Dec 8, 2010

    They won't let me say what I think should happen to convicted rapists. Let me just summarize it by saying, remove some parts and ship him to a deserted island.

    I hope he didn't rape her in front of her children, couldn't see where it said that, only that the children were in bed with her when he broke in.

  • wildcat Dec 8, 2010

    What a disgrace to all armed forces! I pray the court gives this man 50 years in prison.

  • peppercorns Dec 8, 2010

    HE is disgrace to the uniform and to mankind. I agree with James18...but let's hurry it all up.

  • james18 Dec 8, 2010

    here is another that needs to take a number and stand in line on death row!!

  • ceverly Dec 8, 2010

    I hope that his little voice inside his head, "Jason", has informed him he is going to prison. What a vile human being!

  • anne53ozzy Dec 8, 2010

    I know as a military brat (officer's kid) that the military holds it's cards to the chest. However, I am infuriated by this repeat offeder. It may be time for crimes associated w bases to be opened to cicvilian enforcement asap!!!!

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