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Discharged U.S. Soldier Pleads Not Guilty to Murder, Rape of Iraqi Civilian

In a federal court in Kentucky Thursday, former army private Steven Green pleaded not guilty to murder and rape charges stemming from an incident in the Iraqi town of Mahmoudiya in March. A New York Times writer discusses the charges stemming from the misconduct.

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    In a federal court in Kentucky yesterday, former Army Private Steven Green pleaded not guilty to murder and rape charges stemming from an incident in the Iraqi town of Mahmoudiya in March.

    Correspondent David Cloud has been covering the story for The New York Times and joins us now.

    David, first, tell us what is alleged to have happened on March 12.

  • DAVID CLOUD, The New York Times:

    On March 12, Private Green and three other soldiers allegedly entered a house nearby a checkpoint that they were manning and raped a woman who was inside the house, and killed her and her family, three other members of her family, her parents and a young sister, before attempting to cover up the crime, and going back to their checkpoint.


    Is there any known reason at this point for why the attack on this particular family?


    There is no known reason, none given. The only implication is that there had been some — allegedly, some premeditation of this. It had been discussed, allegedly, the day before by Mr. Green with another soldier, who is unidentified.

    It appeared to be near — the house appeared to be near the checkpoint and all one can guess is that it was essentially a target of opportunity.


    Now, the case against Steven Green is being brought by federal prosecutors in civilian court, not in the military courts. That's because he's no longer in the military?


    That's correct.

    He was discharged in May, after being sent home from Iraq for what we are told is a personality disorder. We're told that this move by the Army had nothing to do, at the time, with the incident in Mahmoudiya. In fact, they didn't even know that Mr. Green was involved, allegedly, but that he had been found, after a psychiatric evaluation, to have this personality problem, and was discharged honorably from the military.


    Do we know what that means, a personality disorder?


    We don't know, in his specific case, what behavior led to this.

    We — under the regulations, it is anything, a range of potential behaviors that's sort of described as behavior incompatible with military service.

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