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Army captain cleared of murder charges in death of fellow soldier

A Texas jury acquitted former Army Captain Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster of murder in the death of a fellow soldier who died after a night drinking and confrontations.
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Former Army Captain Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster — pictured as a lieutenant — was found not guilty of murder by a Texas jury in the late 2023 death of a fellow soldier.(Photo from Facebook).

A former Army Captain who was stationed at Fort Bliss was found not guilty of murder by a Texas jury in the death of a fellow soldier in late 2023.

Capt. Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster was riding in a jeep that struck a car driven by Capt. Malcom Xavier Perry. Perry was killed, and both the driver and Nelson-Royster were charged with his death.

A Texas jury acquitted Nelson-Royster of murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault last Thursday.

Nelson-Royster was the second person arrested in connection with Perry’s death. Perry died in a fiery crash which police said was caused when Nelson-Royster’s Jeep rammed his car at an El Paso intersection. The alleged collision came after a series of confrontations between the two captains at a local strip club and outside Perry’s home.  

Nelson-Royster said there was bumping and her lawyer, Brock Benjamin said that the prosecution’s evidence was based on Perry’s 911 call.

The driver of the Jeep, Richard Mustapha Sennessie was arrested on Oct. 13 and charged with murder. Sennessie was offered a plea deal to admit guilt to a manslaughter charge instead of murder if he agreed to testify against Nelson-Royster, but he declined, said Benjamin. He will go to trial in April.

According to police, Nelson-Royster and Sennessie were at a nightclub when fights broke out between Nelson-Royster and dancers. Police said that the two then confronted Perry at a second club and, when he left, followed in the Jeep.

Perry called 911 and told operators he was being followed and that he was going to run a red light just before the crash. He was trapped inside the car as it burned

According to Benjamin, Nelson-Royster can be heard on the 911 call yelling “Malcolm! Malcolm! Malcolm!” in the moments after the crash. Sennessie left the scene and was arrested days later.

Nelson-Royster and Perry were in an on and off again relationship and the prosecution centered their argument on Nelson-Royster as a “scorned” woman who was jealous, Benjamin said, adding that they “oversold this case as a murder case.”

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Benjamin said that Nelson-Royster had faced the charge of murder because of promises the prosecutor made to Perry’s parents.

“This is truly a case where the system failed [Perry’s] parents,” Benjamin said. “They’ve led the parents down this path for three years that this is a murder case and they didn’t argue manslaughter or aggravated assault.”

Perry and Nelson-Royster were both logistics officers with the 1st Armored Division at the time of the incident, according to division spokeswoman Lt. Col. Allie Payne. 

The pair started off as logistic officers at Fort Gregg-Adams (previously Fort Lee), Virginia. Perry arrived at Fort Bliss after Nelson-Royster. “It was Clev’s position that he followed her here,” Benjamin said. 

The El Paso Times reported on the existence of a GoFundMe campaign – which has since been taken down – dedicated to raising money for Nelson-Royster’s legal defense. The page said that she was “wrongly charged” and “heartbroken over the death of her soul mate.”

Benjamin said he was surprised that the state didn’t charge his client with intoxicated assault or criminal negligent homicide, which is used for cases of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“But that goes back against their theory of the case, which is they believe they were going to show that she deliberately told Richard to run the vehicle over,” he said. “They weren’t proceeding on – alcohol’s induced, bad things happen theory – which I think may have been successful.”

Nelson-Royster was discharged from the Army two to three months after she was arrested, Benjamin said. She’s pursuing civilian logistics jobs and is looking for a lawyer to change her Army service record. She’s not looking to rejoin. 

“Being discharged in absentia and [assumed] guilty upfront kind of leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth,” he said. 

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