Sergeant Convicted of Rape-Murder of Fellow SoldierAP , Associated Press
Jun. 16, 1987 12:34 PM ET
VICENZA, ITALY VICENZA, Italy (AP) _ A U.S. Army court-martial convicted a 27-year-old sergeant of the rape and murder of a fellow soldier and sentenced him to life in prison, the Army said Tuesday.
Sgt. Walter Louis Coustaut III, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty Monday to sodomizing and strangling Spec. 4 Constance Lavonne Painter, 25, of Wainsville, Va., an Army statement said. The court-martial was conducted in Vicenza in northern Italy.
Both soldiers were attached to the same NATO base in Naples.
The body of Painter was found in her apartment Feb. 8. Coustaut was arrested by Italian police in Naples on Feb. 19.
The Army statement said Coustaut testified he beat Painter with his fists and a bottle before tying, gagging, sodomizing and strangling her.
Coustaut will be transferred to the Army prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
The conviction will be automatically appealed.