Ex-Honor Guard Gets Life in Prison for Army Killing

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From Associated Press

A former Army sergeant was given a mandatory life sentence Friday for shooting a lieutenant to death after he tried to rape her in a dormitory they shared.

Former Sgt. 1st Class Ervin Graves, who was once an honor guard in the White House, was convicted Thursday by a military jury of killing 2nd Lt. Lisa Bryant with four blasts from his .357 magnum. Graves also was convicted of attempted rape.

Graves’ life sentence was automatic. The jury met Friday to decide his other punishment, which included the forfeiture of all pay and allowances, a reduction in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.


Because the panel did not convict him unanimously, Graves avoided the death penalty. The balloting was secret. He will be eligible for parole in 2004.

Bryant, 21, was a newly commissioned officer who had graduated with honors from Princeton a month before she was killed on July 10, 1993. Bryant and Graves, 34, lived on the same floor in Hardy Hall, an Army dormitory for soldiers on temporary duty.

Graves, an Omaha native, enlisted 15 years ago and rose to membership in the Old Guard, a prestigious spit-and-polish unit that provides honor guards for the White House and Arlington National Cemetery.

He pleaded not guilty and did not testify.

Bryant’s earring was found in Graves’ room and several of her hairs were found in his shoes and socks. Gunshot residue was found on his hands, the steering wheel of his car and the victim’s hand.

No one saw the shooting, although a witness said that Graves had appeared nervous afterward. The witness also testified about seeing what appeared to be Graves’ van leaving the dorm parking lot with its lights off.