Fort Bragg Soldier Given 30 Years for Killing Panamanian Woman

A sign at one of the entrances to Fort Bragg.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A former Fort Bragg soldier has been sentenced to 30 years in military prison for the 2014 killing of his Panamanian girlfriend.

News outlets report that 37-year-old Master Sgt. Omar Velez-Pagan was sentenced at his court-martial Tuesday by a jury of five military officers. The day before, the jury had found Velez-Pagan guilty of unpremeditated murder in the death of 25-year-old Vanesa Rodriguez.

Velez-Pagan, who had been stationed in Panama to train Panamanian police, ran Rodriguez over with a truck in June 2014 and then hid her body.

Velez-Pagan will also to be reduced in rank to private, dishonorably discharged and ordered to forfeit pay and allowances.

The jury's sentencing decision is subject to the approval of Fort Bragg's commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend.

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