Former U.S. soldier convicted of raping Iraq teen, four murders

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky has convicted former soldier Pfc. Steven D. Green of raping 14-year-old local girl Abeer Oassim al-Janabi in Iraq, before murdering her and her family. He is the fifth person convicted of the crimes.

Green, who was described in court as the ringleader, took it in turns with at least three other soldiers to hold the girl down and rape her in 2006. The group then murdered Abeer as well as her younger sister and both parents. The gang then burnt down the family house in Mahmudiya to try to cover up their crimes.

The other four men were court martialed as they were still soldiers when they were charged. Most are now serving multiple life sentences after three confessed and the fourth was convicted. Green was honorably discharged from the US Army after medics diagnosed him with a psychiatric disorder and described as having "homicidal tendencies" before authorities learned of his involvement in the rape and murders.

Spc. James P. Barker and Sgt. Paul E. Cortez are serving 90 and 100 year sentences respectively after confessing, while Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman received a 110 year sentence after his conviction. Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, who did not know of the planned crimes before their commission and remained at a checkpoint while the offenses were committed, received a 27-month sentence. Charges were dropped against Sgt. Anthony Yribe, who was honorably discharged.

Green, who set the teen's body alight and bragged about his crimes, is facing a possible death sentence. His lawyer had argued that extreme stress from combat had rendered Green unable to distinguish enemies from friends.


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