Ex-soldier on trial for son’s murder now hit with rape charge
WüRZBURG, Germany — Halfway through Vada Rucker’s trial for the murder of his infant son, a German prosecutor announced Tuesday he is charging the former 1st Infantry Division soldier with the rape of a fellow soldier in Kitzingen in the spring of 2003.
Eric Olenschlager, of the Würzburg District Court, alleges that Rucker, now 22, threw the soldier down on the bed in her room of Building 5, Larson Barracks, and raped her. Because he was 20 at the time of the alleged attack, under German law he would be tried in a juvenile court. The case falls under German law instead of U.S. military law because Rucker no longer served on active duty when the charge was brought.
The soldier had accused Rucker — who at the time of the alleged rape served in her unit, but who has since left the Army — in May 2004. It wasn’t pursued at the time because Rucker was arrested a week later and charged in the beating death of his 3-month-old son, Isaiah.
But Olenschlager said witness statements during two days of testimony last week led him to believe Rucker might be dangerous if he is set free. He said he has a “high suspicion” that the rape allegation is true. But Rucker would leave the country and be out of the reach of German law should he be acquitted in the murder case, which is scheduled to end July 20.
“The warrant of arrest is issued only because this trial is about to end,” Olenschlager said.
Norman Jacob, Rucker’s attorney, said he was stunned that a prosecutor would present this warrant in the middle of another trial.
“I am very astonished that he is in pretrial confinement in this case, and now is being charged with a case from 2003,” Jacob said. “This [charge] has nothing to do with this case.”
According to his own testimony in the murder trial, Rucker and his wife, Spc. Corinne Montanez, argued loudly in their off-base apartment near Würzburg late on the night May 26, 2004, over Rucker’s ongoing affair with a young German woman he had dated before their marriage in September 2003.
The next morning, Montanez, then a soldier in the Würzburg-based 67th Combat Support Hospital, woke up at 4 a.m. and fixed a bottle for the baby. She awoke her husband 25 minutes later, then left for the Würzburg Army Hospital. Typically she worked there, but on this morning she went to the emergency room because she wasn’t feeling well. Her husband was to feed the baby, take him to day care then report to his own civilian job in the hospital’s dining hall an hour later.
That morning, Rucker said, the baby started drinking from his bottle but a few minutes later started choking and spitting up milk and blood through his nose. After an attempt at CPR and three frantic calls to his wife’s cell phone, he rushed the baby to the hospital. Doctors pronounced the baby dead.
Rucker was arrested May 28 by German police after medical personnel suspected — and an autopsy later confirmed — that the baby had suffered multiple rib and skull fractures and died from a blow to the head.
Rucker has been jailed in Würzburg ever since. Montanez was transferred to a post near her home in New York and has since left the Army.
Testimony is scheduled to end Wednesday. The trial will resume Tuesday for closing arguments. A verdict from the panel of three law judges and two civilian judges is expected the following day.