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November 8th, 2006 - Ex-U.S. Soldier Pleads Innocent in Iraq Rape, Murder
Wednesday, November 8, 2006; 12:10 PM
Louisville, Kentucky - A former U.S. soldier pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in federal court to charges he participated in a gang rape of an Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family in March.
If convicted, Steven Green, 21, faces a minimum of life in prison and could be sentenced to death, prosecutors said in court.
Green and four other soldiers who are still in the Army are accused of sexually abusing the 14-year-old girl, then killing her, her father, mother and 6-year-old sister. Green is accused of obstruction of justice for trying to burn the bodies to conceal the crime.
The others face potential death sentences in military trials. A fifth soldier is charged with trying to cover up the March 12 incident in Mahmudiya, Iraq.
The Mahmudiya murders sparked outrage among Iraqis and prompted some calls to prosecute U.S. soldiers in Iraq for crimes committed there.
The case is one of three where U.S. service members are to be tried by the military for the murders of Iraqi citizens.
Green was discharged from the Army's 101st Airborne Division for a "personality disorder" and was indicted on 17 charges by a civilian grand jury last week.
© 2006 Reuters
By Jason Riley
November 8, 2006
The former U.S. Army private charged with raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her, along with three members of her family, pleaded not guilty to the crimes Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Louisville.
Steven D. Green, 21, said nothing during the short arraignment hearing, allowing federal public defender Scott. T. Wendelsdorf to enter the not guilty plea on his behalf.
Green, who wore plain clothes but whose feet were shackled, was indicted Nov. 3 on 17 charges, including four counts of murder and sexual abuse.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James D. Moyer told Green that if he is convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison or be sentenced to death.
There has been no decision on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Green. Greenís lawyers will meet with the Attorney Generalís Capital Case Committee on Dec. 18 to discuss the death penalty possibility.
The indictment alleges that Green and other soldiers sexually abused the teen, then burned her body to hide evidence after the March 12 attack. Green and the other men killed the girl, her father, mother and 6-year-old sister, according to the indictment.
Green, who grew up in Midland, Texas, was discharged from the Army in May for a severe personality disorder.
His case is in the federal court system in the Western District of Kentucky - which includes Fort Campbell, home of Greenís former unit, the 101st Airborne Division - because the charges were brought after his discharge.
The Army has also charged five men in the case who are still soldiers.