A US federal jury has found former US private soldier Steven Green guilty of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and then killing her and her family. Green faces a possible death sentence for his crimes. His sentencing hearing begins on Monday.
AFP - A US federal jury has found former soldier Steven Dale Green guilty of raping an Iraqi teenager and then executing the girl and her family, court officials said Thursday.
Green, who was discharged from the army due to a "personality disorder" before his role in the atrocity came to light, was found guilty on all 17 criminal counts which included rape, murder and obstruction of justice.
A jury will determine whether he should receive the death penalty at a sentencing hearing which is set to begin on Monday.
Green's mother, father and brother -- who were not present during the trial at Green's request -- are scheduled to testify on his behalf.
Prosecuting attorney Marisa Ford told jurors during closing arguments that the grueling conditions and tragic losses suffered by his unit, Bravo Company, in no way excused the rape of Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and the murders of her and her family in their home south of Baghdad on March 12, 2006.
"The evidence in this case suggests the defendant was acting purposefully and intentionally with full knowledge of what he was doing," Ford said.
She said Green and other soldiers changed their clothes and disguised their appearance to throw suspicion on insurgents. They then burned Abeer's body to hide trace evidence and burned their own clothes to destroy anything that might link them to the crime, she said.
"This was a planned, premeditated crime which was carried out in cold blood," Ford told the jurors.
But Green's defense attorney Scott Wendelsdorf told jurors the stresses of war had left Green a broken man in a strange world.
"Madness. Madness. That's the only possible word," he told them.
In his closing argument, Wendelsdorf blamed the crime on the lack of leadership at Traffic Checkpoint 2, where Green served with the other soldiers involved in the crimes at the al-Janabi home.
"They didn't come there as criminals," he said. "They were made criminals at TCP 2."
He noted that Green had been diagnosed as having Combat Operational Stress Disorder three months before the attack, and contended that former private first class James Barker and former specialist Paul Cortez took advantage of Green's mental condition to carry out the crimes.
Green was tried in a civilian court because he had been discharged from the army prior to charges being filed in the case.
Jurors last week heard the stories of Cortez and Barker, both of whom admitted to going to the al-Janabi family home with Green. They are serving 100 and 90 year prison sentences, respectively, for their roles in the brutal attack.
The pair said they were in one room of the home trying to rape Abeer al-Janabi while Green was in the other room with her six-year-old sister and her mother and father.
They said gunshots rang out and when they went to investigate, they discovered that Green had killed the three.
Cortez testified that Green proceeded to rape Abeer al-Janabi. He said Green then put a pillow over the girl's face and shot her three times with an AK-47.
Date created : 2009-05-08