U.S. Soldier Convicted of Rape, Murder -- Spared Death Penalty
WASHINGTON – A federal jury that convicted Steven D. Green, a former Ft. Campbell, Ky., soldier of charges arising out of the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of the girl and her family today said it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether the defendant should be sentenced to death. Because the jury did not unanimously reach a decision on the death penalty, U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell will sentence Green to life without parole.
Judge Russell is scheduled to formally sentence Green on September 4, 2009.
Green, 24, was convicted by the federal jury on May 7, 2009, in Louisville, Ky., on all charged counts, including premeditated murder, aggravated sexual abuse, felony murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual abuse, use of firearms during the commission of violent crimes and obstruction of justice. Green was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. 2, 2006.
Green was charged with the crimes following an incident that occurred on March 12, 2006, in and around Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. According to evidence presented at trial, while manning a military checkpoint, Green and other fellow soldiers discussed raping and killing Iraqis. Trial evidence showed that Green and others then took off their uniforms, put on black clothing, left their post and forced their way into the nearby home of the Al-Janabi family. Evidence presented at trial proved that Green then took the mother, father and six-year-old into a bedroom where he shot and killed them. In the living room, Green and the other soldiers raped the 14-year-old and then Green repeatedly shot her in the face and set her body on fire. Green then tried to blow up the house, according to trial evidence, after which the soldiers returned to their checkpoint. After committing the rape and murders, trial testimony revealed that Green bragged to others that the experience was "awesome."
Green was discharged from the U.S. Army in May 2006 and was prosecuted in U.S. District Court under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), a statute that gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by, among others, persons who served with the armed forces but who are no longer subject to military prosecution. Green’s co-conspirators were prosecuted by military authorities under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Green, formerly stationed at Ft. Campbell and deployed to Iraq while serving with the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, was arrested by the FBI on June 30, 2006, on federal charges of murder and rape based on MEJA.