Local News

No death penalty sought in pregnant soldier's slaying

Posted January 6, 2010 4:00 p.m. EST

— Cumberland County prosecutors said Tuesday that they won't seek the death penalty against a Fort Bragg soldier charged with killing a pregnant comrade in 2008.

The body of Spc. Megan 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.

Sgt. Edgar Patino, 28, of 374 Lairgate Lane in Hope Mills, has been charged with first-degree murder in her death. He is being held in the Cumberland County Detention Center without bond.

Touma was pregnant, and Patino was the father of her unborn child, police said.

An autopsy determined Touma died of asphyxiation. The cause of death was most likely asphyxiation either by strangulation or drowning, according to the autopsy report. She had bruising on her neck and was found submerged in a bathtub.