Fellow Army officer Capt. Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster, also 27, was arrested Thursday for her role in Perry’s death, El Paso police said in a statement late last week.
Nelson-Royster was the passenger in and owner of a Jeep that allegedly rammed into Perry’s Audi, causing his vehicle to roll over and catch fire. Perry died at the scene of the incident.
Nelson-Royster is currently booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility on a murder charge and is being held on $500,000 bond, jail officials said over the telephone. The driver of the Jeep, Richard Mustapha Sennessie, 23, was arrested Oct. 13, also on a murder charge, and is being held at the same jail on a $1 million bond.
The fatal incident occurred after an altercation between Sennessie and Perry, according to a complaint affidavit against Sennessie. Nelson-Royster told police she was Perry’s on-again, off-again girlfriend for about five years.
Nelson-Royster and Perry were both logistics officers assigned to the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss.
Army CID officials and the Fort Bliss Department of Emergency Services have been fully informed about the investigation, according to 1st Armored Division spokeswoman Lt. Col. Allie Payne.
“Army CID is conducting a joint investigation along with the El Paso Police Department, [which] is the lead agency,” Payne wrote in an email. “There is dual jurisdiction of the case between Fort Bliss and EPPD, since [Nelson-Royster] is a service member.”
Police responded to the scene of the fatal accident at 5:50 a.m. after Perry made a 911 call prior to his death, according to the affidavit. When police arrived at the scene, Perry was dead and Nelson-Royster was sitting in the front passenger’s seat of the Jeep.
The evening prior to the early morning incident, Nelson-Royster left a bar called 915 Vibes with Sennessie and went to a nightclub called Jaguars. There, they encountered Perry, who came up to sit with them at their table, according to the affidavit.
A fight broke out between a group of people, including Perry, though the reason for the fight was not detailed in the affidavit. Nelson-Royster said she was hit on the lips during the altercation, but she didn’t recall who struck her.
After the fight ended, Perry told Nelson-Royster to meet him at his home in east El Paso. She and Sennessie got in her Jeep and drove to Perry’s home.
When they pulled up, Perry was being assaulted by a group of men outside his home, according to the affidavit.
Sennessie then joined the group assaulting Perry, though the reason was, again, not detailed in the affidavit. Nelson-Royster said she yelled for the fight to stop.
Perry got away from the fight, entered his vehicle and drove off, according to Nelson-Royster.
Sennessie then got back into the driver’s seat of the Jeep, Nelson-Royster got into the passenger’s seat, and the two “drove off at a high rate of speed in order to catch up to" Perry, the affidavit reads.
Once they caught up to Perry, Sennessie allegedly began ramming the Jeep into Perry’s Audi until it crashed. Sennessie then stopped the Jeep and fled the scene, according to Nelson-Royster. Video surveillance at the intersection where the crash took place confirms that Sennessie fled on foot, the affidavit noted.
Nelson-Royster remained with the Jeep, which was registered to her, until she was found and questioned by police.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.