EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Friday, Christian Alvarado was found guilty of raping former Fort Bliss soldier Pfc. Asia Graham, who died on New Year’s Eve 2020 of an “accidental mixed drug intoxication.”

Graham’s mother, Nicole, said Friday’s verdict means Asia has finally received justice for the assault that happened just after she arrived at Fort Bliss in December 2019. She said she can now grieve the loss of her daughter and she wants people to know how strong, brave and lively Asia was.

“I’m glad. I think now my baby can rest in peace,” Nicole Graham told KTSM 9 News at the conclusion of Alvarado’s court-martial.

Alvarado was sentenced to 18 years and three months and was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army.

Much of the defense centered on Graham’s drug use and alleged distribution, but her mother said her daughter self-medicated to help cope following the sexual assault.

“She had it together before he took it apart,” Nicole Graham.

The courtroom was tense and emotional on Friday Alvarado’s accusers and their families attended to watch closing arguments, the verdict and whether a sentence would be issued.

Alvarado issued a statement after the verdict was read.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said as he turned to face the Graham family, however, he did not acknowledge the sexual assault.

He did not turn to face one accuser, whom he sexually assaulted and strangled, but did tell the judge he “apologized for his slip-up.”

Alvarado was found guilty on Friday of sexually assaulting Graham, sexually assaulting and strangling a second woman and guilty on one count of intentionally deceiving military investigators. 

He was found not guilty of an alleged assault in a hotel as well as not guilty of two counts of sexual assault alleged by a former girlfriend that reportedly happened in Mesa, Ariz.

For local and breaking news, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.