Fort Bragg Killings

ByABC News
September 10, 2002, 4:46 PM

Sept. 13 -- In Fayetteville, N.C., Lt. Sam Pennica is thinking back to the beginning of this town's bloody summer when the killings began.

"One thing that we found sort of strange that was common, they all occurred in the bedroom," Pennica said.

In a brief, six-week stretch, four women were killed. All four were mothers married to soldiers stationed at the Fort Bragg Army base in Fayetteville. Some of the killings were especially brutal the kind of sustained assaults that criminal profilers refer to as overkill. All four were allegedly killed by their husbands.

The string of Fort Bragg tragedies began June 11, when Sgt. Rigoberto Nieves, a Green Beret, allegedly shot and killed his 28-year-old wife and then himself.

Just a few weeks later, on July 1, Master Sgt. William Wright reported his wife, Jennifer, missing.

However, Jennifer's father, Archie Watson, was suspicious.

Watson said before Jennifer vanished she had told him she was worried about her husband. "She said that she was getting where she was scared of him. After he came back from Afghanistan He seemed like his temper would just explode, over nothing," Watson said his daughter had told him.

Wright's neighbor Betty Clark said she had noticed something unusual about the soldier after his wife's disappearance. "He lost weight, and he was very nervous, very agitated," Clark said.

Wright had requested to return from his tour of duty in Afghanistan early so he could work out problems in his marriage. However, police say not long after his return Wright struck Jennifer in the head with a baseball bat and then strangled her to death.

Police say Wright's claim that his wife had run out on him didn't hold up.

As the Wright investigation was under way, another Fort Bragg soldier, Sgt. Cedric Griffin, allegedly killed his wife, Marilyn, on July 9 by stabbing her more than 70 times.

Police now were investigating the slayings of two women and looking for a third. They got a break in the Wright case on July 19 when Wright led police to his wife's body. Jennifer's body had been folded and placed into a kit bag, or parachute recovery bag, and was buried in sandy soil off a roadside, according to Pennica.