A Fort Bliss soldier will go to trial on a sexual assault charge filed by a fellow soldier months before she died after being found unresponsive in her barracks, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Pfc Asia Graham, 19, told family members she was raped in December 2019, her first month at the Texas Army post, and made a formal report about the incident last June. Investigators found probable cause in October, and on December 1, a commander concurred with the findings.
But Graham, from Cherryville, North Carolina, was found unresponsive in her barracks on New Year’s Eve and later died, as CrimeOnline reported. Post officials said they don’t suspect foul play, but they have not released a manner of death.
Fort Bliss spokeswoman Lt. Col. Allie Payne told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday that the accused soldier, a private first class whose name is not being released, was notified on Friday that he will be arraigned and formally charged sometime next week. A date for a court martial will be set at that time, she said.
Family members feel that officials didn’t do enough to help Graham and are questioning the details surrounding her death.
“I was with the military life. I spoke very highly about the military,” her mother, Nicole Graham, told the Charlotte Observer’s news partner, WBTV. “But in her situation, I think the leadership failed her.”
Nicole Graham also said her daughter had just gotten approval for outside therapy at the time of her death and “was on her way up.”
Graham was assigned to the 1-501st Attack Battalion, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade, El Paso Times reported. She was a human resource specialist.
Payne said that Maj. Gen. Sean Bernabe, commander of the 1st Armored Division, “personally ordered” the charge be referred to trial.
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[Featured Photo: Pfc. Asia M. Graham/US Army]