Brett Barrouquere / Associated Press – 2009-05-08 22:37:12
PADUCA, Kentucky (Mary 8, 2009) — A jury convicted a former soldier Thursday of raping and fatally shooting a 14-year-old girl after killing her parents and younger sister while he was serving in Iraq. Pfc. Steven Dale Green faces a possible death sentence when the penalty phase of his trial begins Monday. Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, was being tried in civilian court because he had been discharged from the Army for a personality disorder before he was charged with the Iraq crimes.
Green stared straight ahead as the verdict was read in US District Court in western Kentucky.
Defense attorney Darren Wolff, speaking afterward, said the defense never denied Green’s involvement. “Is this verdict a surprise to us? No. The goal has always been to save our client’s life,” Wolff said. “And, now we’re going to go to the most important phase, which is the sentencing phase and we’re going to accomplish that goal.” The lead prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney Marisa Ford, declined comment.
The trial started April 27, and jurors deliberated for more than 10 hours beginning Wednesday before finding Green guilty. His defense team had asked them to consider the “context” of war, saying soldiers in Green’s unit of the 101st Airborne Division lacked leadership and received little help from the Army to deal with the loss of friends in combat.
The prosecution rested six days into the trial after presenting witnesses who said Green confessed to the crimes and others who put him at the home of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, heard him shoot her family and saw him rape and shoot the girl.
During opening arguments, Assistant US Attorney Brian Skaret said Green talked frequently of wanting to kill Iraqis, but when pressed, would tell people he wasn’t serious. In the weeks before the attack on the family, several soldiers from Green’s unit were killed in combat.
In closing arguments, Ford said the March 12, 2006, crime was planned and premeditated. “This was a crime that was committed in cold blood,” she said.
© 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
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