Local News

Bragg soldier pleads guilty to killing pregnant comrade

Posted November 3, 2010 6:40 p.m. EDT

— A Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced Tuesday to at least 16 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing a pregnant comrade more than two years ago.

Sgt. Edgar Patino, 29, of Hope Mills, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Spc. Megan Touma. He had originally been charged with first-degree murder in the case.

The body of Touma, 23, was found June 21, 2008, in a room at the Fairfield Inn near Cross Creek Mall. Investigators said they believe she was killed seven to eight days earlier.

An autopsy determined Touma died of asphyxiation. She had bruising on her neck and was found submerged in a bathtub.

Touma was seven months pregnant at the time of her death, and Patino was the father of her unborn child, police said.

She was one of three female Fort Bragg soldiers killed in the summer of 2008, and the unrelated cases attracted national attention because husbands or boyfriends were charged in each.

The remains of 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc were found in Onslow County three days after a fire was set in her Fayetteville apartment in July 2008. Her Marine husband and a fellow Marine were convicted in the case.

Sgt. Christina Smith was killed while walking near her home in September 2008. Charges are pending against her husband and another man, both on whom are soldiers.