A jury in US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on May 7 convicted former Pfc. Steven D. Green of the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl, and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya. Prosecutors had previously elected to seek the death penalty against Green, one of six soldiers who was initially charged with the various crimes resulting from the rape and murders.
Prosecutors painted Green as the ringleader, saying he had raped the girl, burned her body, and bragged about it later. Green’s lawyer had argued that his client was suffering from extreme stress from combat, and was unable to distinguish friend from foe. Green, who was discharged honorably pursuant to a psychiatric disorder diagnosis before the Army knew of the incident, had been diagnosed with having “homicidal tendencies” before the rape and murder by Army mental health workers. Sentencing is scheduled for next week. Under federal law, the fact-finder must consider aggravating and mitigating factors being sentencing someone to death.
Green is the only one of the five soldiers to be tried in federal court because he had been discharged prior to the trial. Three others pleaded guilty in court-martial proceedings, and a fourth was convicted. Spc. James P. Barker and Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, were sentenced to 90 and 100 years respectively, while Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, who stayed at the checkpoint and had prior knowledge of the plans, was sentenced to 27 months in jail. The fourth, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, was convicted by a military jury and sentenced to 110 years. Prosecutors dropped charges of dereliction of duty against the sixth member, Sgt. Anthony Yribe, who was other than honorably discharged. (Jurist, May 8)