48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Trail of Fire’ on CBS: Holley Wimunc, Domestic Violence, and the Holley Lynn James Act (June 26, 2018)

Friends searching for a missing Army nurse find her apartment smoldering and no sign of their friend. Can NCIS agents find her? -Trail of Fire, 48 Hours NCIS

The apartment of a missing Army nurse was found smoldering. This was the season finale of “48 Hours: NCIS” and producer Jonathan Leach joined CBS News to discuss the episode. -Trail of Fire, 48 Hours NCIS

Holley Lynn James Wimunc 2

Lt. Holley Lynn James, US Army

Fort Bragg Army nurse, Lt Holley (Lynn James) Wimunc, 24, was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc on July 9, 2008 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. After Holley didn’t show up to work, her friends went looking for her. They found her apartment had been set on fire but Holley was nowhere to be found. Three days later authorities discovered Holley’s mutilated remains in a shallow grave outside of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her body had been chopped up with an axe and burned repeatedly in an effort to try and destroy evidence. John Wimunc also started her apartment on fire in an effort to hide evidence with no regard for any of the nineteen other families in the apartment building. Holley’s father Jesse James shared that she planned on divorcing John Wimunc after putting up with the domestic abuse for over seven months. It would be the day after she told John that she was leaving him that she would go missing. Marine Cpl. John Wimunc, 23, was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. An accomplice, Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden, 22, was charged with being an accessory after the fact of a felony, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. John Wimunc plead guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison. Kyle Alden plead guilty and was sentenced to 44 to 62 months in prison. Jesse James worked with Representative Bruce Braley on legislation that would improve conditions for both domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the military. The Holley Lynn James Act (H.R. 1517) was introduced to the 112th Congress in 2011 but did not pass.

“I didn’t know much about domestic violence. But the thought that he would murder Holley is a thought that never occurred to me. I wish it had occurred to me. I wish for one moment I would have thought maybe he’ll kill Holley or murder Holley. My reaction would have been so different. I didn’t know about domestic violence.” -Jesse James (Holley’s father)

MJFA Link:
Army Nurse Lt. Holley Lynn James Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce; John Wimunc Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 9, 2008)
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)

Editor’s Note: If you would like to watch the full episode of ‘Trail of Fire,’ please visit the CBS All Access website, visit the 48 Hours website, or download the 48 Hours app for iPad. The most recent episodes are unlocked on the 48 Hours website and app. If you would like to watch past episodes on the 48 Hours app, it cost’s $4.99 a year. There’s programming dating back to 2005 on the 48 Hours app, including some classics, to feed your true crime addiction.  

Authorities in North Carolina have charged the husband of a Fort Bragg Army nurse with murder after the woman’s remains were found in a brush fire three days after she went missing. -AP (July 14, 2008)

The husband of an Army nurse who worked in the maternity ward at Fort Bragg’s hospital was charged Monday with murder in her death, a day after her body was discovered by authorities. -AP (July 14, 2008)

Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service.

Domestic Violence: Holley Wimunc

Related Links:
Obituary: Lt Holley Lynn James
Second Missing Ft. Bragg Soldier Is Divorcing Husband
Evidence to be preserved in case of slain Army nurse
Authorities suspect charred remains could be Fort Bragg nurse
Fort Bragg nurse sought protection from Marine husband after gun incident
Apartment complex denies access to slain soldier’s family
Slain soldier’s brother retrieves belongings from apartment
Autopsy: Army nurse was shot, buried
Funeral set for Army nurse Holley Wimunc
Vigil planned for slain Army nurse
Fort Bragg hosts memorial service for slain nurse
Wimunc’s father: Daughter ‘never met a stranger’
Family, attorney: Marine charged in wife’s death is innocent
Marine’s parents: Claims of violence against wife ‘unfounded’
Husband, 2nd man arrested in slaying of Bragg-based soldier
2 Marines charged in nurse’s death due in NC court
Marine charged in wife’s death
Marine charged in death of Army nurse wife
Husband charged with murdering soldier wife
Missing Nurse’s Marine Husband Charged With Murder
Dead Army nurse’s husband charged with murder
Camp Lejeune husband charged with the murder of his Fort Bragg wife
Soldier’s Husband Charged With Murder
Marines appear in court in Army nurse’s death
Marines charged in slaying appear in court
Marines indicted in Army nurse’s slaying
Death penalty sought in Army nurse’s slaying
NC to seek death penalty in killing of Army wife from Dubuque
Wimunc Faces Death Penalty
Plea deal reached in Marine murder case
Camp Lejeune Marine pleads guilty to killing wife
Second Marine pleads guilty in Army nurse’s death
Marine Pleads Guilty in Army Wife’s Murder
Slain Army nurse’s dad in war against domestic violence
Death on the Home Front
The Fort Bragg Murders
U.S. Military Is Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’
When a Military Nurse Fails to Show Up for Work, Worried Friends Rush to Her Apartment Only to Find her Home Burned & Their Friend Missing
Did a Missing Army Nurse Fall Prey to a Serial Killer Targeting Military Women?
Fort Bragg soldier Holley Wimunc’s 2008 murder featured on CBS’ ’48 Hours: NCIS’
Fort Bragg soldier Holley Wimunc’s 2008 murder featured on CBS’ ’48 Hours: NCIS’
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)

Video Links:
AP Top Stories: Holley Wimunc
Dead Army Nurse’s Husband Charged With Murder
Marine Charged in Army Wife’s Death
Holley James we miss you
Domestic Violence in the Military Part 1 | CBS News
Domestic Violence in the Military Part 2 | CBS News
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act
Domestic Violence: Holley Wimunc
Did a missing Army nurse fall prey to a serial killer targeting military women?
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Trail of Fire
“48 Hours: NCIS: Trail of Fire” preview

Rep. Mike Turner Says New Military Legislation Closes a Loophole & Includes Domestic Violence Victims in the Expedited Transfer Policy Law (May 1, 2018)

Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed. -WDTN-TV (May 1, 2018)

“In civilian life you have complete control of your movements, and if you’re in an unsafe situation you can remove yourself. In military life, the victim needs permission to take even basic self-preservation actions.” (Rep. Mike Turner, December 25, 2011)

“It’s been almost ten years since that law for expedited transfers on base for sexual assault victims was changed. But today Congressman Turner and Mary Lauterbach both say there’s still more work to be done. Now backtracking to 2007 when Maria Lauterbach reported her sexual assault, the Vandalia Marine requested a base transfer and it was denied, leaving her in close proximity to her assaulter. Since her death, her mother has worked with Turner to get that law changed where victims can now seek that expedited transfer…Today, Turner’s saying even with that law passed those who report sexual assault in context of domestic violence have not been permitted expedited transfer, bringing forth the persist against Military Sexual Trauma Act. ‘We have drawn legislation that would close that loophole and make certain that those who are subject to domestic violence also have the ability, as victims of sexual assault, to seek the expedited transfer’ (Rep. Mike Turner)This will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will pass the House of Representatives next week.” –WDTN-TV (May 1, 2018)

In the News:

Critics say the military needs to do more about domestic violence against women. A CBS News investigation found more than 25,000 women have been victimized over the past decade. -CBS Evening News (January 28, 2009)

Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service. -[Former] Representative Bruce Braley (April 12, 2011)

The man found dead in Germantown is ID’s as Adam Anthony Arndt; teen ID’d as Michelle Miller. -ABC 7 WJLA (April 8, 2013)

New provisions handed down from the Department of Defense are giving sexual assault victims in the military rights they never had before. It’s all thanks to the fight from Congressman Mike Turner and a local mother Mary Lauterbach. The provisions make certain that a victim has legal counsel throughout the whole process so they understand what their legal rights are and how to protect themselves. The provisions also remove the accused from the situation and not the victim. -WKEF/WRGT (August 15, 2013)

A major hurdle cleared for sexual assault victims in the military. Congress passed a bill that would give victims rights and protection they never had before. The push came after the tragic murder of local marine Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son. Congress approved a bill that would give military sexual assault victims legal counsel and criminalize retaliation against any victim. “If Maria had had this, she would be alive today, it’s very important.” The bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. -WKEF/WRGT (December 20, 2013)

Morris’ death in 2012 was ruled a suicide. -WMAR-2 News (August 10, 2015)

First Class Private Shadow McClaine’s body was discovered earlier this week and investigators arrested two fellow soldiers. -CBS Sacramento (January 28, 2017)

The family learned Kamisha Block was shot and killed while serving in Iraq. The Department of Defense told the Block family Kamisha was shot in the chest by friendly fire. It would take the family a grueling six months to learn the truth. The petition to ask for a congressional hearing set up by Shonta on change.org says: “I am begging for justice. I want the army to be held accountable.” -12 News Now (February 12, 2019)

A Marine colonel’s wife mourns her husband’s death in the Iraq war. Authorities said it was suicide, but she said he was murdered. -CBS News (March 29, 2019)

As Terri Caserta entered her son’s bedroom in their Peoria home, she broke down. It’s an emotion that Terri and her husband Patrick Caserta will always carry with them. Their son Brandon was in the United States Navy from 2015 to 2018. However, at just 21, Brandon would take his own life. -ABC 15 Arizona (June 14, 2019)

Related Links:
Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed (May 1, 2018)
Sgt. Bill Coffin Murdered Ex-Fiancee After Civilian Courts Issued Protective Order, Judge Alleges Army Routinely Ignores Court Orders (December 15, 1997)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Iraq After She Ended a Forbidden Relationship, Then Ended His Own Life (August 16, 2007)
Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child Murdered, Remains Discovered in Fellow Marine’s Backyard; Cesar Laurean Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 15, 2007)
Army Nurse Lt. Holley Lynn James Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce; John Wimunc Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 9, 2008)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
The Army And Domestic Abuse | CBS (January 28, 2009)
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
[Former] Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Army Spouse Katherine Morris Found Dead in Car Near Mall; Cause of Death Initially Ruled Suicide But Further Investigation Suggests Homicide Motivated by Insurance Fraud (May 6, 2012)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Michelle Miller, Adam Anthony Arndt found dead in Germantown (April 8, 2013)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student & Recruit Michelle Miller, Then Killed Self; Army Claims Double Suicide (April 8, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
Dept. of Defense Gives New Provisions to Military’s Victims of Sexual Assault (August 15, 2013)
Major Hurdle Cleared for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 20, 2013)
Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death (April 10, 2015)
Family of Katherine Morris wants Department of Justice to investigate death (August 10, 2015)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
An Open Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act (June 1, 2016)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell; Ex-Husband Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray & Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder (September 2, 2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (October 21, 2016)
Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Fort Hood Housing in Texas; Initially CID Investigated as Homicide But Later Ruled Suicide (December 24, 2016)
Mom Of Soldier Who Died At Hands Of Fellow Soldiers Hopes For Death Penalty (January 28, 2017)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (February 13, 2017)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (November 27, 2017)
Police: Lewis-McChord airman killed his family, himself (March 13, 2018)
Man charged in death of soldier’s wife at Fort Stewart (June 6, 2018)
Estranged Husband Charged in Murder of Fort Campbell Soldier (October 19, 2018)
Fort Campbell soldier charged with murder Friday in wife’s beating death (January 11, 2019)
Vidor family of soldier Kamisha Block alleges cover-up after 2007 shooting in Iraq (February 12, 2019)
Gruesome details emerge in lovers’ triangle murder of Army soldier in Benton Harbor (February 20, 2019)
Was it death by suicide or murder? “48 Hours” investigates in “Widow’s War” (March 29, 2019)
Fort Bliss soldier charged with murdering his wife, also a soldier (April 15, 2019)
Peoria family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life (June 14, 2019)
Wife Accused Of Fatally Shooting Army Husband Days After He Got Emergency Protection Order Against Her (June 18, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Military Families for Justice (MFFJ)

What the DoD Doesn’t Want You to Know: 50 Shocking Military Homicides in the Last 30 Years (March 23, 2018)

homicide-cases

  1. Fort Carson Army Spc. Tracy Spencer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Double Rape & Murder of Army Veteran Micki Filmore & Colorado Springs Nurse Barbara Kramer (1986)
  2. Army Soldier Ronald Gray Sentenced to Death by Military Courts for Rape & Murder of Army Pvt. Laura Vickery-Clay & Civilian Kimberly Ruggles (1986)
  3. Army Pvt Rosa Martinez Murdered at Fort Dix by National Guardsman Jose Aponte After She Resisted His Sexual Advances (1987)
  4. Army Soldier Dwight Loving Robbed & Murdered Cab Driver; Sentenced to Death by Military But Commuted by President Obama, Sentenced to Life (1988)
  5. Army Soldier Erin Tynan Raped & Strangled by Fellow Fort Irwin Soldier Christopher Geier, Geier Guilty of Murder, Murder-For-Hire & Attempted Murder (1990)
  6. Air Force Sgt. Joseph Snodgrass Hired Hitmen to Kill Wife in Philippines for $400,000 Life Insurance Payout; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1991)
  7. Army Spouse Melinda Stewart, Army Sgt. Daniel Stewart, Jill Yousaf & Army Soldier James Catlin Conspired & Murdered Homeless Teen Maggie Fetty (1991)
  8. Phonthip Ott Discovered Dead in California River; Coast Guard Spouse Dennis Ott Convicted of Murder & Sentenced to Life in Prison (1992)
  9. Fort Carson Army Soldier Michael Pelkey Convicted by Military Court Martial of Murdering Wife Diane; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1993)
  10. Sgt. Bill Coffin Murdered Ex-Fiancee After Civilian Courts Issued Protective Order, Judge Alleges Army Routinely Ignores Court Orders (1997)
  11. Navy Petty Officer James Kuenn Convicted of the Cold Case Murder of Carol Hutto in Florida; Sentenced to Life, Possibility of Parole After 25 Years (2000)
  12. Air Force Capt. Frank ‘Marty’ Theer Murdered by Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond in North Carolina; Both Sentenced to Life in Prison (2000)
  13. Fort Bliss Army Commander Capt. Lynn Reister Murdered by Enlisted Husband Roger & His Brother Rodney for Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (2001)
  14. Air Force SSgt Shelby Orelup Murdered by an Airman She Dated Briefly, SSgt Phillip Arindain Sentenced to Life in Prison (2003)
  15. Army Soldiers Jeremy Meyers & Christopher Baber Found Guilty of Murdering Jeremy’s Wife Jessica for the Life Insurance Policy (2003)
  16. Air Force Airman Andy Schliepsiek & Wife Jamie Stabbed to Death at Robins Air Force Base, Andrew Witt Found Guilty of First Degree Murder (2004)
  17. Marine Corps Reservist Rosendo Rodriguez III Murdered Summer Baldwin and Unborn Child; Sentenced to Death in Texas for Two Capital Murders (2005)
  18. Navy Seabee Rebecca Braswell Conspired with Fellow Navy Seabees to Kill Ex-Husband & Navy Veteran John Marmo, Sentenced to Life in Prison (2006)
  19. Army Sgt 1st Class Donald Gower Conspired & Offered to Pay Others to Murder his Estranged Wife Hidi Gower for the Life Insurance (2007)
  20. Marine LCpl Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child were Murdered; Fellow Marine Cesar Laurean Found Guilty of Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (2007)
  21. Fort Bragg Army Soldier Edgar Patino Murdered Army Specialist Megan Touma & Unborn Son After Argument, Sentenced to 16-20 Years in Prison (2008)
  22. Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
  23. Army Sgt. Christina Smith Murdered by Army Husband Richard Smith & Accomplice Matthew Kvapil, Both Fort Bragg Soldiers Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
  24. Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak & Spouse Quiana Murdered by Four Active Duty Marines (2008)
  25. Disabled Teen Judilianna Lawrence Lured on MySpace by Army Soldier; Robert Marko Sentenced to Life in Prison for Rape & Murder (2008)
  26. Army Soldier Ashley Barnes Stabbed to Death by Estranged Husband; Fort Campbell Army Soldier Khaleefa Lambert Sentenced to Life in Prison (2009)
  27. Navy Petty Officer Amanda Snell Murdered by Marine Jorge Torrez in Barracks at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia (2009)
  28. Navy Master Chief John Bench Murdered Son & Attempted to Murder Wife & Daughter in Japan, Then Killed Self in Motorcycle Crash (2009)
  29. Army Major Nidal Hasan Sentenced to Death by Military Court for Opening Fire & Killing 12 Unarmed Soldiers & 1 DoD Employee at Fort Hood, Texas (2009)
  30. Pregnant Samira Watkins Found Dead in Bayou Grande in Florida; Navy Sailor Zachary Littleton Convicted of 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life (2009)
  31. Army SSG Anton Phillips Found Stabbed to Death at FOB Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan; CID Offering $25,000 Reward for Information (2009)
  32. Air Force Reservist Travis McGraw Murdered his Wife Vanessa for the $100,000 Life Insurance Policy; Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2011)
  33. Army Soldier Sgt. Brandy Fonteneaux Found Murdered in Fort Carson Barracks; Sgt. Vincinte Jackson Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2012)
  34. Air Force A1C James Thomas Sentenced to 32 Years for Murder of SrA Clinton Reeves (2012)
  35. Marine Corps Spouse Brittany Killgore Held Captive, Tortured, Raped, and Murdered After Refusing Sex; 3 BDSM Cult Members Sentenced to Life (2012)
  36. Robert Chiaravalotti, US Army, Sentenced to Life Without Parole by Military Judge After Killing Wife & Raping Step Daughter (2012)
  37. Army Soldier Kimberly Walker Murdered in Colorado Hotel Room by her Boyfriend Army Soldier Montrell Mayo After Valentine’s Day Quarrel (2013)
  38. Baby Found Dead on Side of Highway; Air Force SrA Matthew Theurer Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter, Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison (2013)
  39. Marine Nathaniel Cosby Convicted of the Second Degree Murder of Ivanice Harris in Hawaii; Sentenced to Life in Prison by Military Courts (2013)
  40. Army Spouse Dana Mackay Found Murdered in Virginia Home; SSG John Mackay, Nicole Houchin, Nace Houchin, & Greg Crawford Confessed to Crime (2013)
  41. Army Soldier Jeremiah Hill Convicted in Fatal Stabbing of Fellow Soldier Tevin Geike in 2013, Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison
  42. Navy PO 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov Found Strangled to Death in Germany; Air Force SSgt Sean Oliver Found Guilty, Sentenced to Life (2013)
  43. Nathaniel Ulroan, US Army, Gets Life in Death of Son (2014)
  44. Camp Pendleton Marine Christopher Lee Convicted of Pre-Meditated Murder of Pregnant Lover Erin Corwin; Sentenced to Life in Prison (2014)
  45. Danielle Nemetz was Shot and Killed; Army Soldier and Spouse Skylar Nemetz Convicted of Manslaughter and Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison (2014)
  46. Marine Joseph Pemberton Found Guilty by Philippines Court for Murder of Filipina Sex Worker Jennifer Laude; Sentenced to 6-12 Years (2014)
  47. Fort Meade Army Soldier Caleb Barnes Stabbed Cheryl Silvonek to Death; Plead Guilty to First Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (2015)
  48. Army Soldier Joseph Kimsey & Jonathon Nelson Found Guilty of Murdering Ashley Melnyczok; Both Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole (2015)
  49. Air Force SSgt Steven Williams Pleaded No Contest to the Second Degree Murder of his USAF Veteran Ex-Wife Tricia Todd in Florida (2016)
  50. Fort Carson Army Soldier Branden Harms Pleaded Guilty to Child Abuse Resulting in Death; Faced 40-48 Years in Prison at Sentencing (2016)

Army Spouse Katherine Morris Found Dead in Car Near Mall; Cause of Death Initially Ruled Suicide But Further Investigation Suggests Homicide Motivated by Insurance Fraud (May 6, 2012)

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 12.48.18 PM

Katherine Morris

Katherine Morris, 22, was found dead in her car near the Arundel Mills Mall in Maryland on May 6, 2012. Katherine was a University of Maryland student and married to Army spouse, Isaac Goodwin, who was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. According to a website dedicated to Katherine Morris, she died from carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grills lit in her car. Katherine’s family questioned the ruling of suicide by the Army and the Anne Arundel County police department immediately and were eventually successful at getting some retired civilian detectives to look into their suspicions of homicide motivated by life insurance fraud. Interestingly, Anne Arundel County police department also had jurisdiction of the homicide investigation of Army soldier Karlyn Ramirez, who was murdered in 2015. Karlyn’s husband Maliek Kearney and his new girlfriend Doris Delgado face federal murder charges. Karlyn’s homicide is similar in motive to the theories Katherine’s family has about her suspicious death. Karlyn and Katherine both appear to have been targeted and became the victims of domestic violence and/or life insurance fraud. The true motivation behind the Karlyn Ramirez and Katherine Morris deaths is unknown at this time but given how many homicides occur in the military with the common motive of domestic violence and/or life insurance, the Katherine Morris case deserves a second look.

Three families have asked for similar law changes for victims of domestic violence in the military since 2011. Representative Bruce Braley introduced the Holley Lynn James Act on behalf of Fort Bragg Lt. Holley Wimunc who was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc in 2008. The bill was advocating for the removal of the Commander and the Chain of Command from the investigation and adjudication of felony crimes like domestic violence because of their inexperience with the modus operandi of offenders. Unfortunately the bill was never even considered and this bill may have had the power to prevent what happened to Katherine Morris, Michelle Miller, and Karlyn Ramirez. Michelle Miller’s family believes she was targeted by an Army recruiter at her Rockville, Maryland high school and became the victim of domestic violence and homicide, despite the Army’s ruling of a double suicide. As a result, Michelle’s family is advocating for Michelle’s Law, which is an effort to encourage Congress to pass a law that would try military abuse and murder cases in civilian court. Katherine’s family is currently advocating for the Katherine Morris Military Spouse Protection Act. All of these law proposals ask that the Chain of Command be removed from the investigation and adjudication of felony crimes because of their inexperience at handling these complex cases. Similar bills have also been introduced to Congress to include the Sexual Assault Training, Oversight, and Prevention Act and the Military Justice Improvement Act. The military needs experienced investigators to get to the bottom of the truth in an effort to prevent crime and save lives.

In the News:

Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death. -WMAR-2 News (August 10, 2015)

Related Links:
For Kathy’s Sake, Inc.
Obituary: Katherine Sarah “Kat” Morris
U.Md. student found dead in car near Arundel Mills Mall
Questions abound after student death
Fort Bragg soldier accused of fraud after wife’s suicide
Army investigates allegation soldier drove UMd. student to suicide
Retired officers to give Anne Arundel County cold cases new life
Retired detectives to review 2012 suicide near Arundel Mills
Police reopen probe of Rev. Morris’ daughter’s death
Police Launch Independent Review Into UMD Student’s Suicide Death
Police re-open ‘suicide’ case of wife who was heartbroken after she discovered ‘soldier husband only wed her for Army benefits and was sleeping with other women’
Mother of apparent suicide seeks answers
Marguerite Morris v. Prudential Insurance Company of America (2013)
NAACP seeks federal probe of 2012 death in Hanover
Anne Arundel County mom not convinced her daughter committed suicide, calls for DOJ investigation
Morris v. Goodwin (2014)
Mother’s Search for Answers in Daughter’s Death Leads to Shelter Closure
Anne Arundel Police Response to Freedom of Information Request
Mother seeks emails in daughter’s death investigation
When Katherine Morris, 22, died suddenly, police ruled it suicide, but her mother continues to investigate
Marguerite R. Morris, Personal Representative of the Estate of Katherine Sarah Morris v. Isaac Jerome Goodwin (2016)
Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student Michelle Miller & Then Killed Self, Army Investigators Claim Double Suicide (2013)
Army Pfc Karlyn Ramirez Found Shot to Death in Home, Army Sgt Maliek Kearney & Army Veteran Dolores Delgado Charged with Across State Lines Murder, Feds Prosecuting (2015)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder
Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death
Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin allegedly marries for money, and his wife commits suicide
WMAR-2 News: Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death (August 10, 2015)

Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)

[Former] Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of [former] Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service. -[Former] Rep. Bruce Braley (April 12, 2011)

In Their Name:

******************************************************************

Holley Lynn James Wimunc 2

2nd Lt. Holley Lynn James, U.S. Army

“The U.S. military could crack down on internal cases of sexual and domestic abuse. That’s if a bill that [former] Congressman Bruce Braley has written becomes law. The bill is named after this former Dubuque [Iowa] woman. In 2008, Holley Lynn James’ husband killed her at their home at a military base in North Carolina. Both James and her husband John Wimunc were in the military. [KCRG spoke with James’ father] Call it a gut feeling or a father’s intuition, during the spring of 2008 Jesse James knew something wasn’t right with his daughter’s marriage. ‘We were constantly calling the unit, calling the unit and they would do something but it didn’t last very long’ (Jesse James) Two months before her death, Army 2nd Lt. Holley James filed a domestic violence complaint with police against her estranged husband Marine Corporal John Wimunc.

[Wimunc] later killed Holley, dismembered her body, then set her apartment on fire. ‘The military has never had a system of investigating and prosecuting these cases’ (Jesse James). But [former] Congressman Braley’s new bill aims to change all that. It would create an Inspector General’s office to handle abuse cases. There would be a resource department for victims and would include a neutral third party investigator. ‘This isn’t an indictment on military leaders, it’s just that people who are more qualified with the life experiences to investigate and prosecute these things need to be doing it’ (Jesse James). James says he’ll never know but a department like this may have saved his daughter’s life…John Wimunc pleaded guilty to Holley James murder and a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole. James had two children from a previous relationship. Jesse James says the children are doing well and living with their father…”

“Last year the Department of Defense reported more than 3000 instances of sexual assault in the military. Now [former] Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley has introduced legislation that aims to bring that number down. ‘When it has to do with woman serving their country in the military, I can’t think of a better reason for people to come together and come up with a solution to an alarming problem’ (Rep. Bruce Braley). In Dubuque today, Braley spoke about the Holley Lynn James Act. It would help victims of sexual and domestic abuse in the military. The bill is named after the Dubuque native and Army 2nd Lt. [Holley Lynn James] who was killed by her husband [John Wimunc] in 2008. The bill would enlist the office of Inspector General to provide independent oversight in reported cases.” –KCRG-TV (April 12, 2011)

Related Links:
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
H.R.1517 – Holley Lynn James Act (112th Congress, 2011-2012)
To amend titles 10 and 28, United States Code, to provide for military sexual assault and domestic violence accountability, and for other purposes.
Domestic Violence, Where Does it End? (Interview with Jesse James)
Braley says Defense Department moves involving domestic violence are encouraging
Accountability for Sexual Assault Perpetrator in the Military
Battle over dedication to the military
New Braley ad pushes Senate hopeful’s ability to work across party lines
Slain soldier’s father lauds Braley
Sgt. Bill Coffin Murdered Ex-Fiancee After Civilian Courts Issued Protective Order, Judge Alleges Army Routinely Ignores Court Orders (December 15, 1997)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Iraq After She Ended a Forbidden Relationship, Then Ended His Own Life (August 16, 2007)
Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child Murdered, Remains Discovered in Fellow Marine’s Backyard; Cesar Laurean Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 15, 2007)
Army Nurse Lt. Holley Lynn James Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce; John Wimunc Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 9, 2008)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (2009)
Congress Told That DOD Data on Sexual Assault and Rape in Military Is ‘Lacking in Accuracy, Reliability and Validity’ (2010)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Crime in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student & Recruit Michelle Miller, Then Killed Self; Army Claims Double Suicide (April 8, 2013)
WMAR-2 News: Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death (August 10, 2015)
An Open Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act (June 1, 2016)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell; Ex-Husband Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray & Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder (September 2, 2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Fort Hood Housing in Texas; Initially CID Investigated as Homicide But Later Ruled Suicide (December 24, 2016)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners
48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Trail of Fire’ on CBS: Holley Wimunc, Domestic Violence, and the Holley Lynn James Act (June 26, 2018)
Military Families for Justice

History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)

Critics say the military needs to do more about domestic violence against women. A CBS News investigation found more than 25,000 women have been victimized over the past decade. Katie Couric reports. -CBS

Related Links:
A Silent Struggle (2009)
Domestic Abuse In The Military (2009)
The Army And Domestic Abuse (2009)
Abused Military Wife Speaks Out (2009)
Bringing The War Home (2009)
Tonight: Investigating Domestic Violence In The Military (2009)
When War’s Violence Comes Home (2009)

MJFA Research:
Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act (2011)
Army Spouse Katherine Morris Found Dead in Car Near Mall; Cause of Death Initially Ruled Suicide But Further Investigation Suggests Homicide Motivated by Insurance Fraud (2012)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered HS Student & Recruit Michelle Miller, Then Killed Self; Army Claims Double Suicide (2013)
Army Sgt Michael Walker Allegedly Conspired to Murder Wife with Prostitute for Insurance Money; Awaiting Murder Trial in Hawaii Civilian Court (2014)
Army Pfc Karlyn Ramirez Found Shot to Death in Home, Army Veteran Dolores Delgado Plead Guilty & Army Sgt Maliek Kearney Awaiting Trial (2015)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell on 9/2; Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder, Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray Awaiting Trial (2016)
Life Insurance Fraud is a Common Motive for Murder in the Military
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for Military Survivor and Life Insurance Benefits
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

History:
Spouse Abuse A Military Problem (1999)
Pentagon Reveals 50,000 Abused Military Spouses (1999)
General: The Good Soldier Doesn’t Beat His Wife (2001)
Retired judge remembers ‘60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley (2006)
When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly (2008)
PTSD and Domestic Abuse: Husbands Who Bring the War Home (2010)
Domestic violence: end of your time in the military? (2011)
Reports of family violence, abuse within military rise (2011)
A Silent Epidemic: Spousal Abuse is the Military’s Best Kept Secret (2012)
High risk of military domestic violence on the home front (2014)
How The Military Failed This Victim Of Domestic Violence (2014)
DoD Highlights Programs to Prevent, Treat Domestic Violence (2014)
After Combat Stress, Violence Can Show Up At Home (2016)
Sutherland Springs Church Killer Was Kicked Out of Air Force for ‘Bad Conduct’ (2017)
An Air Force error allowed the Texas gunman to buy weapons (2017)
Air Force Failed to Report Texas Church Gunman Devin Kelley’s Domestic Violence Convictions (2017)
Here’s the Document That Should Have Prevented Devin Kelley From Buying Guns (2017)
Read Devin P. Kelley’s assault and domestic violence court documents (2017)
The loophole that may have given the Texas church gunman access to his arsenal (2017)
A Domestic Violence Loophole In The UCMJ? [Update: Kelley Was In A Mental Health Facility] (2017)
Texas shooting puts scrutiny on military’s criminal reporting system (2017)
The military reports almost no domestic abusers to the main background check database for guns (2017)
Defense Department has Reported Only One Domestic Abuser to Federal Gun Database (2017)
US military consistently fails to report domestic violence to gun database, senators say (2017)
The Air Force Error That Let the Texas Church Shooter Buy a Gun Is Just One of ‘Thousands’ (2017)
There Is No Domestic Violence Loophole in Military Law (2017)
Assault charges erased by veterans’ ‘Valor Act’ (2017)
Clarifying Our Reporting on the Military, Domestic Violence Records, and Gun Background Checks (2018)

Congressional Action:
Jeff Flake, Martin Heinrich introduce bill to close domestic violence loophole in military (2017)
Hirono Bill Closes Military Loophole On Firearm Purchases (2017)
Sen. Hirono Introduces Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act (2017)
Rep. Rosen Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Close Loophole in Military Justice System that Allows Convicted Domestic Abusers to Buy Guns (2017)
Following Shooting in Texas, Kaine Introduces Bill to Close Loophole in Military Justice System that Enables Convicted Abusers to Purchase Guns (2017)
Military wife alleges abuse in the Army (2018)
Victims can face obstacles in domestic violence cases involving soldiers (2018)
Tillis Chairs Hearing on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
YouTube: Tillis Chairs Hearing on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
C-SPAN: Hearing Focuses on Domestic Violence & Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
SASC: Hearing Focuses on Domestic Violence & Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
Mother of sexually abused child: The military is failing victims (2018)
Lawmakers move to make domestic violence a crime under UCMJ (2018)
The UCMJ May Get A Domestic Violence Update To Prevent The Next Texas Church Shooting (2018)
UCMJ domestic violence overhaul aims to prevent another mass shooting (2018)
Rosen Amendment to Make Domestic Violence a Crime Under the U.S. Military Code of Justice Passes the House Armed Services Committee (2018)
S. 2129: Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act

Army Nurse Lt. Holley Lynn James Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce; John Wimunc Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 9, 2008)


Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service.

Holley Lynn James Wimunc 2

Lt. Holley Lynn James, US Army

Fort Bragg Army nurse, Lt Holley (Lynn James) Wimunc, 24, was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc on July 9, 2008 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. After Holley didn’t show up to work, her friends went looking for her. They found her apartment had been set on fire but Holley was nowhere to be found. Three days later authorities discovered Holley’s mutilated remains in a shallow grave outside of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her body had been chopped up with an axe and burned repeatedly in an effort to try and destroy evidence. John Wimunc also started her apartment on fire in an effort to hide evidence with no regard for any of the nineteen other families in the apartment building. Holley’s father Jesse James shared that she planned on divorcing John Wimunc after putting up with the domestic abuse for over seven months. It would be the day after she told John that she was leaving him that she would go missing. Marine Cpl. John Wimunc, 23, was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. An accomplice, Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden, 22, was charged with being an accessory after the fact of a felony, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. John Wimunc plead guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison. Kyle Alden plead guilty and was sentenced to 44 to 62 months in prison. Jesse James worked with Representative Bruce Braley on legislation that would improve conditions for both domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the military. The Holley Lynn James Act (H.R. 1517) was introduced to the 112th Congress in 2011 but did not pass.

“I didn’t know much about domestic violence. But the thought that he would murder Holley is a thought that never occurred to me. I wish it had occurred to me. I wish for one moment I would have thought maybe he’ll kill Holley or murder Holley. My reaction would have been so different. I didn’t know about domestic violence.” -Jesse James (Holley’s father)


Friends searching for a missing Army nurse find her apartment smoldering and no sign of their friend. Can NCIS agents find her? -Trail of Fire, 48 Hours NCIS


The apartment of a missing Army nurse was found smoldering. This was the season finale of “48 Hours: NCIS” and producer Jonathan Leach joined CBS News to discuss the episode. -Trail of Fire, 48 Hours NCIS

Editor’s Note: If you would like to watch the full episode of ‘Trail of Fire,’ please visit the CBS All Access website, visit the 48 Hours website, or download the 48 Hours app for iPad. The most recent episodes are unlocked on the 48 Hours website and app. If you would like to watch past episodes on the 48 Hours app, it cost’s $4.99 a year. There’s programming dating back to 2005 on the 48 Hours app, including some classics, to feed your true crime addiction.  

Related Links:
Obituary: Lt Holley Lynn James
Second Missing Ft. Bragg Soldier Is Divorcing Husband
Evidence to be preserved in case of slain Army nurse
Authorities suspect charred remains could be Fort Bragg nurse
Fort Bragg nurse sought protection from Marine husband after gun incident
Apartment complex denies access to slain soldier’s family
Slain soldier’s brother retrieves belongings from apartment
Autopsy: Army nurse was shot, buried
Funeral set for Army nurse Holley Wimunc
Vigil planned for slain Army nurse
Fort Bragg hosts memorial service for slain nurse
Wimunc’s father: Daughter ‘never met a stranger’
Family, attorney: Marine charged in wife’s death is innocent
Marine’s parents: Claims of violence against wife ‘unfounded’
Husband, 2nd man arrested in slaying of Bragg-based soldier
2 Marines charged in nurse’s death due in NC court
Marine charged in wife’s death
Marine charged in death of Army nurse wife
Husband charged with murdering soldier wife
Missing Nurse’s Marine Husband Charged With Murder
Dead Army nurse’s husband charged with murder
Camp Lejeune husband charged with the murder of his Fort Bragg wife
Soldier’s Husband Charged With Murder
Marines appear in court in Army nurse’s death
Marines charged in slaying appear in court
Marines indicted in Army nurse’s slaying
Death penalty sought in Army nurse’s slaying
NC to seek death penalty in killing of Army wife from Dubuque
Wimunc Faces Death Penalty
Plea deal reached in Marine murder case
Camp Lejeune Marine pleads guilty to killing wife
Second Marine pleads guilty in Army nurse’s death
Marine Pleads Guilty in Army Wife’s Murder
Slain Army nurse’s dad in war against domestic violence
Death on the Home Front
The Fort Bragg Murders
U.S. Military Is Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’
When a Military Nurse Fails to Show Up for Work, Worried Friends Rush to Her Apartment Only to Find her Home Burned & Their Friend Missing
Did a Missing Army Nurse Fall Prey to a Serial Killer Targeting Military Women?
Fort Bragg soldier Holley Wimunc’s 2008 murder featured on CBS’ ’48 Hours: NCIS’
Fort Bragg soldier Holley Wimunc’s 2008 murder featured on CBS’ ’48 Hours: NCIS’
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)

Video Links:
AP Top Stories: Holley Wimunc
Dead Army Nurse’s Husband Charged With Murder
Marine Charged in Army Wife’s Death
Holley James we miss you
Domestic Violence in the Military Part 1 | CBS News
Domestic Violence in the Military Part 2 | CBS News
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act
Domestic Violence: Holley Wimunc
Did a missing Army nurse fall prey to a serial killer targeting military women?
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Trail of Fire
“48 Hours: NCIS: Trail of Fire” preview