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Jury convicts ex-soldier of wartime crimes

May 22, 2009 at 11:03 AM   |   Comments

PADUCAH, Ky., May 22 (UPI) -- A federal jury in Kentucky found an ex-U.S. Army private guilty in the 2006 slaying of an Iraqi family but was divided on whether to invoke the death penalty.

The nine-woman, three-man jury seated in Paducah, Ky., Thursday convicted former Army Pvt. Steven Dale Green of charges arising from the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killings of the girl and her family, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release.

Because the jury wasn't unanimous on whether to impose the death penalty, U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell will sentence Green to life without parole, said Lanny A Breuer, U.S. assistant attorney general.

Russell is scheduled to formally sentence Green on Sept. 4.

Green, 24, was convicted on charges that included 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's lawyers said in a statement that they were pleased with the verdict, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported Friday.

"Mr. Green will spend the rest of his life in jail, and the events of March 12, 2006, have forever changed the lives of many," the statement said. "(We) truly hope the U.S. military will take a hard look at the resources they provide our service members dealing with combat stress issues."

The trial was the first in which a civilian jury was asked whether to execute a former service member for a wartime crime.

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