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Fate of Aberdeen drill sergeant remains before jury

April 28, 1997

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (AP) _ Jurors deciding the fate of a former Army drill sergeant accused of raping six female trainees reviewed testimony today from a witness who was given a different account from one of the alleged victims.

Staff Sgt. Delmar Simpson, 32, is charged with raping six women 19 times and could get life in prison if convicted of even one rape charge. He also is charged with 35 other offenses, most involving sexual harassment.

He already faces up to 32 years in prison for admitting to consensual sex with 11 trainees _ a violation of Army rules _ and to five other charges.

The five men and one woman on the jury deliberated over three days last week, then returned to court this morning for a review of the testimony of Pfc. David Watson.

In the section of testimony read to them by the judge, Col. Paul Johnston, Watson said the 20-year-old woman told him that Simpson grabbed both her wrists with one hand, removed her shorts with the other and had sex with her.

That was different from the woman’s testimony that Simpson pinned her in a corner of his office bathroom and had sex with her. She did not testify that he held her wrists in one hand.

The woman had testified that she never told Simpson `no.′

Other witnesses testified the woman was a habitual liar who first confided a desire to have sex with Simpson and later said laughingly that she had.

The scandal at Aberdeen Proving Ground resulted in criminal charges against 11 other soldiers at the base and prompted an investigation at Army installations worldwide.

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