- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A former soldier discharged because of a “personality disorder” was accused in federal court yesterday of executing an Iraqi family so he and other troops could rape and murder a young woman they had been eyeing at a traffic checkpoint.

Steven D. Green, a skinny, 21-year-old former private, was led into court wearing baggy shorts, flip-flops and a Johnny Cash T-shirt. He spoke only to confirm his identity and stared as a federal magistrate ordered him held without bond on murder and rape charges that could carry a death penalty.

Mr. Green became the first person identified in the latest charge of wrongful killings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops, horrific deaths discovered in a burned house near Mahmoudiya in March that military officials initially blamed on insurgents.

According to a 10-page federal affidavit, Mr. Green and three other soldiers from the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division had talked about raping the young woman, whom they first saw while working at the checkpoint. On the day of the attack, the document said, Mr. Green and other soldiers drank alcohol and changed out of their uniforms to avoid detection before going to the woman’s house. Mr. Green covered his face with a brown T-shirt.

Once there, the affidavit said, Mr. Green took three members of the family — an adult male and female, and a girl estimated to be 5 years old — into a bedroom, after which shots were heard from inside.

“Green came to the bedroom door and told everyone, ‘I just killed them. All are dead,’” the affidavit said.

The affidavit is based on interviews conducted by the FBI and military investigators with three unidentified soldiers assigned to Mr. Green’s platoon. Two of the soldiers said they witnessed another soldier and Mr. Green rape the woman, whose age was not clear but was thought to be about 15.

“After the rape, [the soldier] witnessed Green shoot the woman in the head two to three times,” the affidavit said.

One of the three soldiers interviewed said he was left behind to mind the radio at the traffic checkpoint. That soldier said Mr. Green and three others returned from the woman’s house “with blood on their clothes, which they burned. Immediately after this, they each told [the soldier] that this is never to be discussed again.”

An official familiar with details of the investigation in Iraq has told the Associated Press that a flammable liquid was used to burn the rape victim’s body in an attempted cover-up.

Mr. Green, who was arrested Friday, is being prosecuted in federal rather than military court because he is no longer in the Army. According to the affidavit, his 11-month-stint ended “before this incident came to light” when he was given an honorable discharge “due to a personality disorder.”

The soldiers accused in the rape and killings are from the same platoon as two soldiers whose mutilated bodies were found June 19, three days after they were abducted by insurgents near Youssifiyah, southwest of Baghdad. Military officials say they think guilt over the mutilations may have spurred a confession by one of the soldiers during a combat-stress debriefing late last month.

No other soldier has been charged in the case, said Maj. Joseph Breasseale, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad. However, military officials have said four Army soldiers have had their weapons taken away and were being confined to their base near Mahmoudiya.

Court officials said Mr. Green will have a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing Monday in Charlotte, and will then be brought to Louisville, Ky., to stand trial. He could be executed if convicted of murder.

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