Former U.S. Soldier Convicted Of Murdering Pregnant Teenage Fellow U.S. Soldier In Germany Over Two Decades Ago

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A federal jury convicted a former U.S. Army soldier of murdering a pregnant teenage fellow soldier on a U.S. Army base in Germany 23 years ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement Tuesday.

The jury in Pensacola, Florida, convicted Shannon L. Wilkerson, 43, of second-degree murder Monday, judging from court documents and evidence presented that Wilkerson “beat and strangled [pregnant 19-year-old] Amanda Gonzales to death in her barracks room at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, then a U.S. Army base in Hanau, Germany,” on Nov. 3, 2001, according to the DOJ’s statement.

Wilkerson, who was later discharged, believed Gonzales was pregnant with his child, said Executive Assistant Director Timothy R. Langan Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, the statement reported.

Wilkerson’s wife, identified in court documents as A. Martinez, was also a U.S. Army soldier stationed with Wilkerson and Gonzalez at the Hanau base, according to the court documents. Wilkerson and Martinez did not live in the married dorms and Wilkerson reported having some trouble with Martinez, the documents revealed. Martinez reportedly lived next to Gonzalez and Wilkerson lived in a separate building. Gonzalez reportedly was four and a half months pregnant and believed it was either Wilkerson or another soldier identified as M. Johnson who was responsible for the pregnancy. Martinez was simultaneously pregnant with Wilkerson’s child.

Wilkerson, according to witnesses, admitted to having an affair with Gonzalez and feared he was the father of Gonzalez’s child, the documents revealed. Gonzalez sought to end her relationship with Wilkerson and threatened to report the relationship to the command staff. Wilkerson worried the report could hurt his chances of promotion and threatened to kill Gonzalez, according to the documents.

Gonzalez was found dead Nov. 5, 2001, having failed to report to work. Investigators gathered evidence that she had been raped and strangled, according to the documents. She was last seen alive around 10:00 p.m. Nov. 2, 2001, at about the same time when Wilkerson reportedly left an on-base party to which he did not return until around 11:00 p.m. or midnight. Wilkerson became drunk in the early hours of the next morning, and said with his hands on his head while in a colleague’s room, “I f—up, I f—up,” the documents alleged.

Wilkerson will be sentenced Aug. 8 and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. (RELATED: Army Sergeant Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murdering Fellow Soldier)

“His conviction yesterday, more than two decades later, is a testament to the Justice Department’s unrelenting pursuit of justice,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri said in part, also referencing the investigators’ yearslong persistence and unwavering pursuit of leads and evidence, according to the DOJ’s statement.

“Yesterday’s conviction is a testament to our unwavering commitment of [sic] pursuing justice for victims of violent crime,” Langan said, according to the DOJ’s statement. “Through the collaboration of law enforcement, the FBI and our partners will continue to seek justice for victims, no matter how long it takes.”