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Ex-hospital worker to be tried for murdering fellow soldiers' wife
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (March 6, 2009) — Military authorities took less than 10 minutes Friday afternoon to handle the arraignment and other legal formalities for the upcoming court martial of an Army reservist accused of killing a Fort Leonard Wood soldier’s wife after committing various sexual acts with her.

Spec. Jermaine Johnson, 26, who is regularly part of the 7223rd Medical Detachment 10 from Mobile, Ala., was a healthcare specialist assigned to General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital at the time police say he killed Myria Silva, 23, and left her body at a rural farmhouse near Niangua between Springfield and Fort Leonard Wood. That farmhouse has since burned down.

Johnson was arrested on Oct. 14, just a few days after the disappearance of Silva, who was later determined to have died on or around Oct. 10. Silva’s husband, Pfc. Benjamin Silva, was deployed to Iraq at the time of his wife’s death and has since returned to Fort Leonard Wood where he is a member of the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

Niangua is located in Webster County and authorities there initially handled the case when Johnson was arrested on Oct. 14, but turned it over two days later to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Leonard Wood. Army authorities have handled it since then, and post officials said last fall that Johnson will be held at Fort Knox in Kentucky awaiting trial.

Johnson didn’t enter a plea Friday at his arraignment after being formally advised of the charges against him and advised of his rights under military law. According to post officials, that means he retains the right to make a variety of motions at a later date in preparation for his court martial.

That trial is scheduled to take place at Fort Leonard Wood from May 18 to 20. Johnson has the right to be tried either by a military judge or by a court-martial panel similar to a civilian jury but including both officers and enlisted men, but he didn’t submit a motion on Friday requesting either type of trial.

Johnson faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole if convicted of charges of violating articles 107, 118, 125, and 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and three specific violations of Article 134.

Those charges accuse him of:

• intent to deceive or providing false statements (Article 107);

• premeditated murder (Article 118);

• sodomy and assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm against Myria Silva (Articles 125 and 128); and

• one specification each of adultery, kidnapping and obstructing justice (Article 134).

Possible sentences no longer include the death penalty, which was initially announced as a possibility by Army spokespeople last fall when Johnson was arrested.

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