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Iraq Transition

Ex-soldier charged in slayings of Iraqi family, rape


Crime, Law and Justice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A 21-year-old former Army private has been charged with killing four members of an Iraqi family and raping one of the victims before shooting her, federal prosecutors and the Army said Monday.

Steven D. Green, a former member of the 101st Airborne Division, is accused of killing an Iraqi man, two women and a girl in Mahmoudiya, just south of Baghdad, in March.

He was arrested last week in Marion, North Carolina, after returning from the funeral of one of the two U.S. soldiers kidnapped and killed by insurgents in nearby Yusufiya in June, court papers state.

Green was based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was honorably discharged from the Army as a private first class for what court papers referred to as a "personality disorder."

Iraqis reported the killings to U.S. troops the day they occurred, but the deaths were blamed on insurgents or "other entities" at the time, according to an FBI agent's affidavit. (Watch how Army probe into deaths began -- 1:00)

But three months later, during combat stress debriefing sessions that followed the killings of two U.S. soldiers kidnapped from a checkpoint in Yusufiya, members of Green's platoon began recounting the killings.

Court papers state that Green and other soldiers involved in the incident set the Iraqi family's house afire, threw an AK-47 rifle used in the killings into a canal and burned their bloodstained clothing after the incident.

A soldier identified in court papers only as a "known participant" is accused of taking part in the rape, but his legal status was not known.

Affidavit details incident

Quoting other soldiers, the FBI affidavit states that Green and other soldiers planned to rape a woman who lived near the checkpoint.

It alleges that Green shot the woman's relatives, including a girl of about 5, and then raped the woman before shooting her to death.

Green had an initial appearance Monday in a federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a judge ordered him sent back to Kentucky for trial, prosecutors said. Efforts to contact a lawyer or relatives of the accused were unsuccessful Monday.

A Justice Department official said Green was charged in the civilian criminal system because he is no longer in the military. Under federal law, military personnel can be tried in U.S. civilian courts for crimes committed overseas, prosecutors said.

According to the affidavit, Green and his companions had been drinking before going into the home. Two of the other soldiers changed into dark clothing to avoid being identified, while Green covered his face with a brown T-shirt.

After the Americans entered the house, Green took a man, woman and child into a bedroom, the document said. A short time later, one of Green's comrades told investigators, gunshots came from inside, and Green came to the door to announce, "I just killed them, all are dead."

Meanwhile, another soldier had grabbed the woman they set out to assault and thrown her to the floor. The affidavit said Green and another soldier then raped the woman, who U.S. military officials said was about 20.

When the alleged rape was over, Green shot the woman "two to three times," one of the soldiers recounted.

After a report of the alleged crime was filed, investigators went to the house -- which had burned -- and took pictures that show the dead Iraqi family. Photos from the crime scene corroborate the soldiers' accounts, the affidavit states.

Military probes several alleged murders

The investigation is the latest in a series alleging U.S. forces killed civilians in Iraq.

Four Army soldiers have been charged with murder in the deaths of three Iraqi detainees during an operation in Salaheddin province in May. Seven Marines and a sailor also have been charged with murder in the death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdaniya in April.

In a case that has yielded no charges, the military is investigating allegations that up to eight Marines killed as many as 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November.

The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act allows for the civilian prosecution of crimes committed abroad by military members.

If convicted of murder, Green could face the death penalty.

CNN's Kevin Bohn, Jamie McIntyre and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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