Former US soldier Steven Green was sentenced May 21 to life in prison for the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenage girl and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya. A federal jury in the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, which convicted Green earlier this month, was instructed to decide “whether justice requires imposition of the death penalty or life imprisonment without any possibility of release.”
The jurors deliberated over the sentencing for two days and could not reach a unanimous decision. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, but Green’s defense maintained that he did not deserve capital punishment due to the highly stressful combat situation he was in and a lack of sufficient leadership. The jury had to consider both aggravating and mitigating factors in contemplation of the death penalty.
Green faced a civilian jury due to being discharged for a psychiatric disorder before the charges were brought. He was one of six soldiers charged with involvement in the rape and murders. Three other soldiers 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 22)