Prosecutors: Ex-US Soldier Accused of Rape-Murder Should Get Civilian Trial

Former U.S. Army Pfc. Steven D. Greenshould be prosecuted in civilian court under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, and not under the military system of justice as urged by the defense, federal prosecutors argued in a motion filed late Friday night.

Green faces capital charges for his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya. His civilian trial is currently scheduled for April 13, 2009. Green's lawyers have argued that he should have been tried under the military system because the alleged acts occurred while Green was enlisted; Green told his commanding officer about the incident twice while still enlisted.

Green was honorably discharged due to a psychiatric disorder diagnosis after the Army knew of the Mahmudiya incident. The Army did not follow proper procedures in discharging Green, and thus Green's discharge was not valid -- and the Army rejected Green's offer to re-enlist in the Army and face a court-martial for murder and rape charges. Green's lawyers argued that the circumstances amount to a violation of Green's due process rights. In their motion, federal prosecutors countered Green's factual assertion that Green was not discharged in accordance with standard military procedure, and further argued that the evidence supports a death penalty charge.

Four soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division have already been convicted in military court for crimes stemming from the Mahmudiya incident. Spc. James P. Barker and Sgt. Paul E. Cortez received prison sentences of 90 and 100 years respectively after they pleaded guilty to participating in the attack.

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