Prison for US soldier who crushed Panama mistress to death

2016-03-30 14:11

Panama City - A US soldier who murdered his young Panamanian mistress while stationed in the country was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a US court martial Tuesday, the Panamanian government said.

Army Master Sergeant Omar Velez-Pagan, aged 37, was given the punishment by the military court in Fort Bragg, North Carolina after being convicted on Monday of the June 2014 murder of Vanessa Rodriguez, 25, Panama's foreign ministry said in a statement.

He was found guilty of killing her by crushing her head with his car, as well as adultery, steroid use and obstructing justice by trying to hide her body in rural land near a river in southern Panama.

During sentencing, Velez-Pagan asked for forgiveness from his victim's family and the Panamanian people, the foreign ministry said.

Velez-Pagan last week admitted in court to all the crimes except murder. He was arrested in 2014 by Panamanian police and handed over to US officials, who sent him to the United States for detention and trial.

Rodriguez's parents previously said they feared Velez-Pagan would escape punishment, but reportedly expressed satisfaction with his conviction.

The US soldier was stationed in Panama on a one-year posting to help train a local police unit. While there he cheated on his American-based wife with Rodriguez, breaking military rules.

As well as the prison sentence, the Fort Bragg court ordered that Velez-Pagan be stripped of military pensions, have pay forfeited, be demoted to private and be dishonorably discharged.

Read more on:    panama  |  us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.