A federal prosecutor will seek the death penalty against the estranged husband of a Fort Campbell soldier, who allegedly killed her in front of their shared apartment on the Kentucky installation in 2018.
Victor Everette Silvers faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, domestic violence, violation of a protective order and firearms-related charges for the Oct. 14, 2018, slaying of Sgt. Brittney Niecol Silvers, who was assigned to the 96th Aviation Support Battalion at the time of her death.
Silvers had been barred from coming within 300 feet of his soon-to-be ex-wife Brittney Silvers when he drove to their Fort Campbell apartment that day. Sgt. Silvers was assigned to the 96th Aviation Support Battalion at the time of her death.
Silvers shot and killed the sergeant with a 9mm handgun in the front yard of the residence, neighbor Caleb Bobbitt told an FBI investigator, according to court documents.
Bobbitt said he was walking his dog and heard two gunshots. He went into his own home to grab his rifle, stepped out and saw Sgt. Silvers fall into the trash cans outside of her apartment and saw her husband shoot her again.
Victor Silvers then went inside the apartment, pushed open the door to a bathroom where James Frederick Keating III, a friend of Brittney Silvers, was. The two men wrestled over the gun, Victor Silvers fired three shots, hitting Keating one time in the leg.
As they struggled, Keating wrested the gun from Victor Silvers, who ran to his car.
Bobbitt and his roommate, who is not named in the documents, approached the vehicle. They told investigators that Victor Silvers asked them to “just shoot me.”
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The deadly incident had been brewing for months.
On July 22, Victor Silvers allegedly assaulted his wife in her car in nearby Clarksville, Tennessee.
“The defendant opened her car door, grabbed her by the neck and struck her in the face multiple times resulting in physical injury to her face and lip,” according to court documents.
Three days later, Victor Silvers purchased a Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm, the same weapon prosecutors allege was used in the crime that killed Brittney Silvers.
On Sept. 22, Victor Silvers allegedly entered Brittney Silvers’ apartment on Fort Campbell and threatened her with the firearm. She reported the incident to military police. They notified local authorities who arrested Victor Silvers in Clarksville. He was also served with a warrant for the alleged assault in July.
The next day, Victor Silvers texted another person saying Brittney could die.
“You can die and I mean that from my soul. All that love I had for her is gone.” A few days later, he texted the same person, “(Brittney) betrayed me on a level to where I want her dead!!!!”
The pair were getting divorced and Brittney had obtained a domestic violence order of protection just five days before her death.
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky Seth A. Hancock pointed to several aggravating factors in the murder that led him to seek the death penalty, which is not common in most murder cases.
Bennett called the alleged murder “especially heinous and cruel.” It posed “grave risk of death to additional persons,” required substantial planning and premeditation” and Victor Silvers killed or attempted to kill multiple persons in a single crime.
Silvers is scheduled for arraignment on a new indictment and the death penalty notice on March 11 in Paducah, Kentucky.
During interviews with police, he first denied being involved in the incident but then confessed to shooting Brittney Silvers, according to a 2018 release by the U.S. Attorney for the Kentucky Western District.
At the time, the incident engendered conversations about installation security in domestic violence cases. The chain of command is alerted when an alleged abuser is a soldier, which triggers certain security precautions. But there was not a similar reporting structure for when the alleged victim is a soldier that would have kept Victor Silvers off post.
About Todd South
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.