View Mobile Site

Convicted soldier testifies against alleged lookout

  • Bookmark and Share

Play some games on the Courier
Search for valuable coupons and print them out
POSTED: August 16, 2007 5:03 a.m.
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A Fort Campbell soldier charged with rape and murder in the slayings of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family stood over his colleagues as they raped the girl and pointed his weapon at the door for security, another soldier convicted in the case testified Wednesday.
Sgt. Paul E. Cortez said Pfc. Jesse Spielman, whose court-martial entered its third day Wednesday, was within a few feet of the others as they held the girl down kicking and screaming, but did nothing to stop them.
Military prosecutor Maj. William Fischbach asked Cortez if Spielman objected to the rape.
"When, if ever, does Spielman say, 'My God, Cortez, what are you doing?'"
Cortez, whose lips were trembling, replied: "He doesn't."
Cortez was the second witness called by prosecutors in the court-martial of Spielman, 22, of Chambersburg, Pa., who is charged in the attack on Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and her family.
Two other soldiers convicted in the attack were expected to be called to testify against Spielman. The soldiers have told investigators that Spielman knew of the plan to rape the girl, and that he was present when they hammered out details over swigs on a bottle of Iraqi whiskey.
Prosecutors do not say Spielman took part in the rape or murders, but he can be charged under military law if they can prove he went to the house knowing what the others intended to do and served as a lookout.
Defense attorneys questioned whether intoxication and combat stress might have affected Cortez's memory of events. They pointed to conflicting statements he provided investigators a year ago and what he has since told prosecutors.
Cortez told military investigators that Green closed a door to the bedroom after separating the girl from her parents and sister. In another statement, however, he said Spielman closed the door and held it shut.
Three soldiers have pleaded guilty for their roles in the slayings and received sentences of five to 100 years. Another soldier, who was discharged from the Army before being charged, faces the possibility of the death penalty when he is tried in federal court in Kentucky.
During their courts-martial, Spc. James P. Barker and Cortez testified they took turns raping the girl while Pfc. Steven D. Green shot and killed her mother, father and younger sister. Green shot Abeer in the head after raping her, they said. The girl's body was then set on fire with kerosene to destroy the evidence, according to previous testimony.
Barker and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard are expected to be called to testify against Spielman, who pleaded guilty Monday to lesser charges of conspiracy to obstructing justice, arson, wrongfully touching a corpse and drinking.
Green, who was discharged from the Army, has pleaded not guilty to charges that include murder and sexual assault. No trial date has been set.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press
 

What others say about this article

  • Bookmark and Share

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

Most Popular

 

Please wait ...