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Soldier is found guilty in Mahmoudiya rape, murders

August 04, 2007|From the Associated Press

FT. CAMPBELL, KY. — A military jury Friday found a soldier guilty of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murders of her parents and younger sister.

Army Pfc. Jesse Spielman, 22, of Chambersburg, Pa., was convicted of conspiracy to commit rape, rape, house-breaking with intent to commit rape and four counts of felony murder. He faces a mandatory life sentence. The jury is to decide today whether he will be eligible for parole.

The March 12, 2006, attack took place in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

Military prosecutors did not say Spielman took part in the rape or murders, but alleged that he went to the house knowing the intent of the others and served as a lookout. He pleaded guilty Monday to lesser charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, arson, wrongfully touching a corpse and drinking.

Spc. James Barker, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez of Barstow and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard have pleaded guilty for their roles and received sentences of five to 100 years under plea agreements with prosecutors.

Steven D. Green, a private who was discharged from the Army before charges were filed, faces a possible death sentence when he is tried in federal court in Kentucky. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that include murder and sexual assault.

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