YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


5 More Soldiers Facing Charges

July 10, 2006|Borzou Daragahi | Times Staff Writer

BAGHDAD — Four more U.S. soldiers have been charged with raping a young Iraqi and killing her and three of her family members in March, the U.S. military announced Sunday.

The military said in a statement that the charges had been lodged against four soldiers accused of rape and murder. A fifth soldier was charged with dereliction of duty in the case. Though he did not participate in the alleged crimes, he knew about them but failed to report the incident, the military said.

The charges were lodged Saturday, the military said. The five soldiers face an Article 32 investigation, the military's equivalent of a grand jury inquest, to see if evidence warrants bringing them before a full-scale military tribunal, or court-martial.

"The preferral of court-martial charges is merely an accusation," the statement said.

"Those accused are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

A former U.S. Army private, Steven D. Green, 21, already appeared in federal court last week in Charlotte, N.C., pleading not guilty to rape and murder charges in the case. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

The statement said the five new suspects were charged with conspiring with Green to commit the crimes. The military did not release their names.

Green received an honorable discharge from the military and returned to the United States before the alleged incident in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, came to light late last month. An affidavit submitted by an FBI special agent in connection with the request for an arrest warrant said military personnel files showed that a "personality disorder" had led to his discharge.

Green was a member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, which is attached to the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq.

Unlike most incidents of alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers, the killings of the young Iraqi and her family did not occur in the heat of battle but were planned out for as long as a week, military officials have alleged.

According to the affidavit by Special Agent Gregor J. Ahlers, who said his information came largely from Army investigators who interviewed at least three of the soldiers involved, Green allegedly killed three family members before he and another soldier raped the young woman, whose age is in dispute. Green then allegedly shot the victim to death with an AK-47 found in the house.

Two other soldiers allegedly went with Green to the house but only stood guard. Another soldier stayed at a checkpoint to monitor radio traffic.

Unlike a civilian grand jury, the military investigation allows the accused to attend and, through defense counsel, to cross-examine government witnesses, call witnesses and present evidence, said Army Maj. J. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq.

The five newly accused servicemen remain in Iraq but have been removed from their normal duties and are not allowed to leave their base, Breasseale said.


Times staff writer Peter Spiegel in Washington contributed to this report.

Los Angeles Times Articles