A seventh suspect was arrested and charged today for the murder of Juwan Johnson, the U.S. Army sergeant who was beaten to death by other soldiers during a 2005 gang initiation.
Rico Rodrigues Williams, a 31-year-old former Air Force member, was arrested in Chesapeake, Va., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He is charged with second-degree murder and three counts of witness tampering.
Johnson died on an Army base in Hohenecken, Germany, after being savagely kicked and punched during his initiation into the Gangster Disciples, a Chicago-based gang that many believe has developed a foothold in the U.S. military. At the time, Williams had already retired from the Air Force. He was living in Hohenecken with his wife, who was still serving in the military.
According to the indictment, unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Williams allegedly participated in the beating that killed Johnson, and spent the following days intimidating and threatening witnesses.
Williams is the seventh person who has been charged in the Johnson case. According to media reports that followed the killing, Army investigators at one point identified eight potential suspects. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said so far six men have been prosecuted in military court, with three convictions and one acquittal. One suspect pleaded guilty but has yet to be sentenced, and another is awaiting trial.
Williams is the first suspect that U.S. civilian prosecutors have been able to indict, as he was no longer a member of the armed forces, but rather a “military dependent,” at the time of the crime.