Local News

Military judge won't move Bragg sex assault trial

Posted September 13, 2010 2:50 p.m. EDT

— A military judge on Monday denied a request to move the trial of an 82nd Airborne Division soldier charged in a sexual assault on Fort Bragg to another Army post.

Army Spc. Aaron Michael Pernell, 23, is charged with two counts each of rape and burglary and one count each of attempted rape, assault consummated by battery and housebreaking.

His court-martial had been scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 27, but Col. Gary Brockington, the military judge handling the case, granted a defense motion to delay the trial. A new trial date hasn't been set.

Pernell's military lawyers had asked that the trial be moved because of Fayetteville's relatively close-knit community and the intense media coverage surrounding sex assaults in the area.

Brockington said the trial would be held at Fort Bragg.

Pernell also faces prosecution in civilian courts on more than 30 charges in connection with six attacks in Fayetteville and Hoke County between 2008 and 2009.

Investigators said DNA from Pernell matches semen found on the clothing of a Fort Bragg woman who was sexually assaulted on Dec. 13. The soldier also is charged in a second break-in on post.

If convicted by a military jury, he would face a life sentence.