Guilty Plea Expected In Iraq Rape Trial

November 15th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Guilty Plea Expected In Iraq Rape Trial

Washington Post
November 15, 2006
Pg. 16

Soldier Won't Face Death Penalty in Deal
By Josh White, Washington Post Staff Writer
A U.S. Army soldier who is accused of taking part in a plan to rape an Iraqi teenage girl and murder her family in March is scheduled to plead guilty today to numerous charges in a military court in Kentucky, the soldier's civilian lawyer said yesterday.
Spec. James P. Barker would be the first soldier involved in the gruesome rape and killings in Mahmudiyah to publicly take responsibility for the attack, which shocked both the U.S. military and the Iraqi community where the family lived. Prosecutors say the soldiers raped and killed a 14-year-old girl and gunned down her parents and 4-year-old sister.
Barker has agreed to testify against others who were involved, said David Sheldon, a Washington-based military defense lawyer. As part of his plea deal, Barker will not face the death penalty, Sheldon added, but he could receive life in prison on charges that include murder, rape and arson.
"Specialist Barker wanted to take responsibility for his role in the crimes that he committed with these other soldiers," Sheldon said. "He will cooperate fully with the prosecution."
Barker, who is also represented by Capt. James D. Culp, plans to plead guilty at Fort Campbell today, Sheldon said.
Four other members of Barker's company have been implicated in the attack, including former private Steven D. Green, who is charged with murder in federal court in Kentucky and has entered a not-guilty plea. Green's lawyers could not be reached yesterday.
Sheldon said that the soldiers had discussed raping the 14-year-old after they visited her house several weeks before the attack, and that on March 12 they agreed to sneak away from their military checkpoint to rape her and kill anyone else in the house.
At the home, about 300 yards from the checkpoint, Green allegedly rounded up the family members and put them in the bedroom while Barker and another soldier raped the 14-year-old, Sheldon said. Evidence in the case shows that Green shot the father in the head with his shotgun before finding an AK-47 rifle in the house and shooting the mother and the 4-year-old.
Green is accused of then raping the 14-year-old before shooting her in the head with the AK-47, according to court documents.
It was the American shotgun shell, left behind at the scene of the crime, that prompted Army officials to suspect U.S. soldiers were involved in the case, Sheldon said. Another soldier in the unit alerted authorities months later, initiating a formal investigation that led to the current charges.
Sheldon said Barker is remorseful for the attack, which he said arose out of an extremely stressful environment in an insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad.
"All of these soldiers were in a situation where they were sleep-deprived and where they had been drinking whiskey," Sheldon said. "In Specialist Barker's case, he had acute stress syndrome as a result of the traumatic events that he witnessed over the course of the previous two to three months."
Green has been singled out as the instigator of the attack. He was discharged from the Army weeks after it happened, although military officials have said they did not know of his alleged involvement at the time. Military documents show that members of Green's unit had concerns about his behavior and were unaware of his "personal problems" before his enlistment.
"Soldier needs to go for the best of the soldiers he serves with and U.S. Army," said a comment from his battalion's command sergeant major on a form dated April 16, a month after the Mahmudiyah rape and slayings. "He can't be counted on to do the right thing."

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