U.S. Soldier Admits Killing Iraqi Family After Raping 14-Year-Old Girl
An American soldier yesterday pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of three members of her family in a village near Baghdad in March in one of the most brutal examples of attacks on civilians in Iraq.
The soldier, Specialist James Barker, also agreed to testify against three other accused soldiers. He agreed to the plea in return for a guarantee that he would not face the death penalty, his lawyers said.
The murders took place on March 12 in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad. Prosecutors allege that five soldiers stationed at a checkpoint there raped the girl, Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, then burned her body to hide the evidence, and killed her father, mother and six-year-old sister.
The alleged ringleader, Private Steven Green, was discharged from the army in May for a "personality disorder" before the crime came to light. He is being tried as a civilian in a federal court in Kentucky, and has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder and sexual assault.
The other defendants are still serving in the 101st Airborne Division and are being tried by court martial.
Specialist Barker has told investigators that the soldiers had drunk whiskey and played cards while plotting the attack on the family, and that he, Pte Green and another soldier, Sergeant Paul Cortez, had taken turns in raping the girl. He said Pte Green had shot her and her family.