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Friday, September 04, 2009

Federal judge sentences ex-US soldier to life in Mahmudiya rape-murder case
Jaclyn Belczyk at 3:14 PM ET

[JURIST] Former US soldier Steven Green [JURIST news archive] was sentenced Friday to five consecutive life terms in prison for the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenage girl [JURIST news archive] and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya. A federal jury in the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website], which convicted [JURIST report] Green in May, failed to reach a unanimous decision on whether Green should get the death penalty, automatically giving him a life sentence [JURIST report] that was confirmed Friday. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty [JURIST report], 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.

Green faced a civilian jury after being discharged from the military for a psychiatric disorder before the charges were brought. He was one of six soldiers [JURIST report] charged with involvement in the rape and murders. Three other soldiers pleaded guilty in court-martial proceedings and a fourth was convicted. Spc. James Barker and Sgt. Paul Cortez were sentenced to 90 and 100 years respectively, while Pfc. Bryan Howard [JURIST reports], who stayed at the checkpoint and had prior knowledge of the plans, was sentenced to 27 months in jail. The fourth, Pfc. Jesse Spielman [JURIST report], 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.

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