NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush was arraigned in military court Monday on charges that he raped and attempted to murder a fellow sailor in Portsmouth by holding a pillow over her face, strangling her with his hands and banging her head against the floor.
Prosecutors say Seaman Recruit Xavier Johnson sexually assaulted the woman in September after she was unconscious.
Johnson also is charged with assaulting a civilian woman in Norfolk in April.
Prosecutors have charged him with with aggravated assault by means likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm for wrapping his hands around the civilian's neck on April 13, and then for holding a comforter over her face to suffocate her on April 27. During the second incident with the civilian, prosecutors say he also struck her on the face, bit her arm and ripped hair out of her head, according to court documents.
He was put in pretrial confinement the next day.
Johnson did not enter a plea during a brief hearing at Norfolk Naval Station and no trial date has been set. Johnson is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake.
Johnson joined the Navy in January 2015 and is an aviation boatswain's mate. Charging documents say the rape and attempted unpremeditated murder charges stem from a Sept. 14 incident in Portsmouth.
Johnson also faces multiple assault charges from the same incident, which include ripping the woman's hair from her head and biting her finger.
That same day, he threatened to kill the sailor's brother and tried to persuade her to recant her initial statement, according to his charges of communicating a threat and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors say he told the woman the next day to stick with a story that she fell down stairs. Prosecutors also say he called the woman about two weeks later and pretended to be his brother – which he doesn't have – in an attempt to persuade her to stop participating in the investigation.
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