Fort Leonard Wood soldier flees after stabbing mess hall worker in neck
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Friday, July 31, 2009 8:25 am
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 31, 2009) — Police and other emergency personnel around Pulaski County prepared Thursday morning to intercept a Fort Leonard Wood master sergeant after military police warned area agencies that he had stabbed another person on post and fled.
The incident happened at 8:40 a.m. and initial reports indicated that the soldier was headed toward the Waggener Gate on the west end of Fort Leonard Wood, which leads toward Waynesville, Laquey, and isolated rural areas of the Mark Twain National Forest. However, off-post police avoided the need for a manhunt after the MPs alerted them that the soldier had turned himself in at the East Gate about 9:20 a.m.
While the master sergeant’s name, vehicle identification, and personal description were provided to area law enforcement, Fort Leonard Wood public affairs personnel have not released his name, rank, or unit to the media pending filing of formal charges.
Military spokesmen said the victim, a civilian employee working at Fort Leonard Wood, was stabbed in the neck with a knife in an on-post dining facility. The victim was transported by ambulance to General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital about 20 minutes after the stabbing, and as of Thursday afternoon, was listed in stable condition.
The motive for the stabbing wasn’t confirmed by military spokesmen, who said the soldier is being held at the MP station and the case remains under investigation.
Fort Leonard Wood public affairs personnel did not confirm reports by multiple civilian employees and off-post law enforcement personnel that the master sergeant had recently come back from Iraq and believed the man he stabbed had been involved in an extramarital affair with a soldier’s wife.
If true, the incident would be the second recent high-profile criminal case involving accusations of infidelity by spouses of deployed military personnel, though the two cases are not believed to be related.
A court-martial is scheduled to begin Aug. 27 for Spec. Jermaine Johnson, 26, who is charged with killing Myria Silva, the wife of another Fort Leonard Wood junior enlisted soldier, in a rural Webster County farmstead near Springfield on Oct. 10 while Silva’s husband was deployed to Iraq. Civilian prosecutors in Webster County released jurisdiction to the Army, which is common when both the victims and suspects are connected with the military, since military prosecutors can often process the cases more quickly and the Uniform Code of Military Justice often allows higher penalties than would be likely under civilian law.
The maximum punishment in Johnson’s case would be life in prison without parole.
Johnson was arrested Oct. 14 by Fort Leonard Wood military authorities, four days after Silva was killed. Military prosecutors say Johnson was having an affair with Silva, who was 23 at the time of her death and the mother of two young children. Charges against Johnson include intent to deceive or provide false statements, premeditated murder, sodomy, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, adultery, kidnapping, and obstruction of justice.
At the time of Silva’s death, Johnson, a member of the Army Reserve’s 7223rd Medical Support Detachment 10 from Mobile, Ala., was serving in General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital as a health care specialist.
Johnson’s court martial has been postponed several times. It was previously set for May 18 to 20, moved to a new date of May 20 to 22, and then rescheduled for June 29 to July 1.