US military identifies soldiers charged in Mahmudiya case

[JURIST] The US military on Monday released the identities [MNF-Iraq press conference transcript] of five Army soldiers charged [JURIST report] in connection with the rape and murder of an Iraqi woman and the murders of several of her relatives in March at Mahmudiya [JURIST news archive], 20 miles south of Baghdad.

The soldiers and the charges against them are:

  • Spc. James P. Barker - conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, premeditated murder, rape, arson, housebreaking
  • Sgt. Paul E. Cortez - conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, premeditated murder, rape, arson, housebreaking
  • Pfc. Bryan L. Howard - conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, premeditated murder, rape
  • Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman - conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, violation of a lawful general order, premeditated murder, rape, arson, housebreaking, indecent acts, obstruction of justice
  • Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe - dereliction of duty and false official statement
The soldiers, all members of the 101st Airborne Division [official website], face Article 32 hearings [Navy JAG backgrounder] to determine whether they will face court-martial. All except Yribe, who was not present during the attack itself but had what the military called "tacit knowledge" of it, could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Previously identified former soldier Steven Green, described as the leader of the group, has pleaded not guilty to rape and murder charges [JURIST reports] in US District Court in Kentucky. Green was discharged from the military because of a personality disorder before the allegations arose. According to an affidavit in Green's case, the soldiers drank alcohol, abandoned their checkpoint, changed clothes to avoid detection and headed to the victims' house in a Sunni area on March 12. There, the affidavit alleges, they raped and killed the woman, then fatally shot her father, mother and sister. AP has more.


 

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