PADUCAH, Ky. – An ex-soldier convicted of raping and killing an Iraqi teen and murdering her family was spared the death penalty Thursday and will serve a life sentence after jurors couldn’t agree unanimously on a punishment.
After an afternoon of card playing, sex talk and drinking Iraqi whiskey, Pfc. Steven Dale Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, and three other soldiers in March 2006 went to the home of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Green shot and killed the teen’s mother, father and sister, then became the third soldier to rape the girl before shooting her in the face.
Federal jurors who convicted Green of rape and murder on May 7 told the judge they couldn’t agree on the appropriate sentence. Their choices were a death sentence or life in prison without parole. Since they could not unanimously agree on either sentence, life in prison had to be the verdict.
Green’s attorneys never denied Green’s involvement in the attack, but argued that he didn’t deserve the death penalty. They presented former Marines and other soldiers with whom Green served who testified that he faced an unusually stressful combat tour in Iraq in a unit that suffered heavy casualties and didn’t receive sufficient leadership.