Jury deliberates on Marine accused of rape
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The jury began deliberations Wednesday in the court-martial of a 3rd Marine Division sergeant accused of raping a lance corporal from his unit a week after she ended their eight-month relationship.
Sgt. Bill Napier III, who pleaded guilty Monday to related charges of fraternization, adultery and sexual activity in the barracks, also is accused of forcible sodomy, harassment, extortion and making four false official statements during the ensuing investigation.
The final witness for the government, Navy Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Peter O’Connor, testified Wednesday morning about his interview of Napier for more than six hours on Nov. 19, 2006, after the alleged rape.
O’Connor said that during the interview, Napier told him the lance corporal said she would “ruin his life” by claiming rape and “people would believe her because she’s a woman.”
Court records show this claim was not in Napier’s signed written statement. O’Connor testified he drafted the statement, but said Napier had an opportunity to review and make changes.
After O’Connor’s testimony, the defense presented no witnesses.
During closing remarks, prosecutor Capt. Timothy Aoyagi told the jury, “Rape is at the heart of this case … she said ‘no,’ and that’s the bottom line. What more does a women have to do” to signal nonconsent?
Defense attorney Capt. Janelle Janbajal said, “Don’t be distracted by the serious offenses listed on the charge sheet. What this case is really about are the charges Sgt. Napier has already pled guilty to — adultery, sex in the barracks and fraternization.”
She argued that the victim is not the typical young Marine away from home for the first time, but rather a college graduate with life experience, who is the same age as Napier.
“The question is, was she forced to have sex with Sgt. Napier,” Janbajal said. “She was not.”
Jury deliberations were to resume Thursday morning.