In evidence presented at Spc. Jermaine Johnson's Article 32 hearing today military prosecutors say that Johnson and Myria Silva had been having an affair for seven months.
Army Special Agent Joseph Gibbs says that Johnson told him that he and Silva had been partying at a popular club, Area 151, on October 10, 2008. After the couple left the club they headed to Johnson's apartment on the post where a sexual encounter took place.
It is alleged that while the couple were having sex Silva said someone else's name and, when she went to use the restroom Johnson intercepted a text message from another man that was sent to her phone asking when she was coming to see him.
Those two things enraged Johnson who threw Silva against a wall and began beating the 23 year-old woman with both fists.
Johnson told investigators that he told Silva that he would take her to a hospital to be treated for her wounds, but instead dumped her in a ditch along I-44.
After leaving Silva on the side of the highway, military investigators allege that Johnson went to an area Wal-Mart where he purchased rope, duct tape, a sleeping bag and lighter fluid.
He then went back to the spot that he had left Silva, and picked her up. After telling Silva that he loved her, he allegedly slit his lovers throat.......waiting and watching the blood drain from her body.
Gibbs told the military court that Johnson told him he placed Myria Silva's body in the sleeping bag he had just purchased, loaded it into Silva's Dodge Durango, and started driving aimlessly, looking for a place to dump her body; settling on an abandoned property in Webster County.
Investigators with the CID say that Johnson told them that after he dumped Myria's body in the vacant farmhouse near Niangua, he drove Silva's S-U-V to St. Robert, and left it at a motel, and took a cab back to the base.
Johnson, who sat expressionless in the courtroom today, went back to the motel to move Silva's vehicle again to a cul-de-sac before his shift the next day at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, where he worked as a health care specialist.
Knowing he would be late for his shift, he called his supervisor to say that his cab was stuck in traffic in Dixon.
Myria Silva's body was found October 14th on the property of an abandoned farmhouse in Niangua that has since burned to the ground.
Jermaine Johnson was arrested at Fort Leonard Wood on October 14th on seven charges related to Silva's death, they are: premeditated murder; adultery; kidnapping; intent to deceive or provide false statements; sodomy; assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and obstructing justice.
Inside sources tell me that while Johnson was being processed at the Fort Knox Regional Confinement Center in Kentucky investigators found Silva's military issued identification in his wallet.
It was at Fort Knox that investigators let Johnson speak with his mother whom he allegedly told, "I did it, but don't know why." He allegedly told investigators that, "the hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my mother I killed another woman."
Myria's mother, Katie Duniphan, told me that, "as hard as it was to hear, I had to know what he did to my baby......she was my best friend."
Pfc. Benjamin (Benji) Silva was deployed to Iraq when his wife was murdered. He has since returned, however, he was not in the courtroom today. Duniphan says that she knows it would have been extremely hard for him to hear what happened to his wife.
Katie Duniphan says that since her only child was murdered the most precious things she has are her granddaughters, Paris and Millie. Duniphan says, "I hope Benji will let me see my grand-babies....I don't ever want them to forget about their mama."
Myria's father, Dave Middleton, who lives in Colorado near the Utah border, says he is extremely upset with how the military has handled his daughters death. He says, "when I called the coroner and the base to check on my daughter, they would only say that they thought they had someone by that name.....I only learned for sure that it was my daughter from the news."
Defense attorneys for Jermaine Johnson have questions about how some of the evidence presented by the trial council was collected, and about how statements were taken in the case.
An investigating officer, (which is the equivalent of a judge in a criminal setting,) will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with the court martial, the military equivalent to a criminal trial. That decision could be handed down anywhere from a few days to two months.
The soldier accused of killing another soldiers wife last year has been referred for court martial.
Specialist Jermaine Johnson is accused of killing Myria Silva last October and dumping her body in an abandoned farmhouse near Niangua.
Johnson is scheduled to be arraigned next Thursday, March 5th, at 8 a.m. at Fort Wood were he will enter a plea.
Inside sources close to the case have indicated to me that Johnson is expected to plead guilty at a separate sentencing hearing to Silva's brutal murder in exchange for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
UPDATE (03-06-09) :
The formal arraignment of a soldier stationed at Fort Leonard accused of killing a fellow soldiers wife was over in a matter of minutes.
Tiffany Wood spokeswoman for the post says the hearing for Spc. Jermaine Johnson lasted about 10 minutes.
Spc. Jermaine Johnson is accused of killing Myria Silva last October after he became irate when another man texted the woman while they were having sex.
Prosecutors say that Johnson beat Myria up and told her he would take her to the hospital..... instead they say he took Silva on a rambling car ride, slit the young mother's throat and then dumped her body in an abandoned farmhouse near Niangua.
On the advice of his attorney's, Spc. Johnson deferred entering a plea.
What that means is that it gives Johnson and his attorney's a little longer to decide how they want to proceed to trial; and preserves any and all motions available to him under the military court.
If they decide they want a judge to hear the case, Colonel Charles Hayes will be the sitting judge. If they decide they want a group of Johnson's peers to hear the case then a jury of his peers will be assembled.
Johnson's trial is scheduled to begin on May 18th at the post.
*****Myria's father and step-mother have a memorial page set up for her. You can link to it here.