A soldier imprisoned for sexually assaulting his stepdaughters is now facing a murder charge for the death of a cab driver in a Seattle suburb.

The U.S. Army Office of Special Trial Counsel recommended seven charges against Pvt. Jonathan Kang Lee, 25, on May 28, including the premeditated murder of Nicholas F. Hokema, according to Michelle McCaskill of the U.S. Army Office of Special Trial Counsel.

The charges also include resisting arrest, desertion, wrongful use of a controlled substance and two counts of failure to obey a lawful order.

The Office of Special Trial Counsel is a congressionally mandated wing of the military that supports the prosecution of cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence and other serious offenses. It officially began operations in December 2023.

The murder in question occurred on Jan. 15 in a mall parking lot and involved a cab driver, according to a Tukwila Police Department press release.

A Washington superior court charged Lee in 2022 with two counts of rape of a child and two counts of child molestation, according to court documents. The victims were his stepdaughters, who were between the ages of four and eight at the time of the assaults.

Court documents show that one victim said she was assaulted more than once and that Lee recorded it on at least one occasion. The other victim said she was assaulted seven times, with one of the times occurring on her birthday.

Lee committed the crimes while on active duty at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where he’d been stationed since May 2019 as a signal intelligence analyst, according to Jennifer Bocanegra, a spokesperson at the base.

The Washington superior court prosecuting Lee filed to dismiss the case on Sept. 30, 2022, after learning the military was pursuing charges based off the same crimes, according to court documents.

The same documents show that the prosecuting attorney felt that the military was better suited to handle the case since some of the abuse may have happened outside of Washington.

Before Lee was set to stand trial, he fled and deserted the Army on Jan. 14, according to the Office of Special Trial Counsel.

The murder occurred one day later.

He was convicted in absentia on Jan. 19 and sentenced to 64 years in prison for felony sexual assault. The trial occurred at a general court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, where Lee was convicted by a military panel of officers and enlisted members, according to the Army.

He was dishonorably discharged and his rank was reduced from specialist to private, said Keith Smith, public affairs chief of the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division.

Seven days later, on Jan. 26, Lee was caught by the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division and arrested.

He was only a person of interest in the murder investigation at this time, according to the Tukwila Police Department.

He was then placed in military custody at the Northwest Joint Regional Correction Facility, a correctional facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He still resides there.

“The victims in this case were extremely courageous to come forward about the horrible acts that this defendant committed,” said Lt. Col. Sean Fitzgibbon, with the 6th Circuit Special Trial Counsel.

The Office of Special Trial Counsel is currently in the process of assigning a neutral officer to conduct a preliminary hearing, said McCaskill.

Riley Ceder is an editorial fellow at Military Times, where he covers breaking news, criminal justice and human interest stories. He previously worked as an investigative practicum student at The Washington Post, where he contributed to the ongoing Abused by the Badge investigation.

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