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A military court has found an American soldier guilty in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family, the army said. Spielman was to be sentenced later yesterday. On Friday, Army Pfc. Jesse Spielman, 22, was convicted of conspiracy to commit rape, rape, housebreaking with intent to commit rape and four counts of felony murder.  Military prosecutors did not say Spielman took part in the rape or murders in the March 12, 2006, assault of a family in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad, but alleged he went to the house knowing what the others intended to do.

Another soldier convicted in the attack, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, testified that Spielman stood guard as his fellow soldiers raped a 14-year-old girl. Cortez said Spielman was within a few feet of the others as they held down the screaming girl but did nothing to stop them.

Sgt. Paul Cortez and Spc. James Barker have pleaded guilty in the case and were sentenced to 90 years and 100 years in prison, respectively. The accused ringleader, former Pvt. Steven Green, was discharged from the army for a “personality disorder” and awaits trial in a civilian court. He faces a possible death sentence.

At the start of the hearing, Spielman pleaded guilty to wrongful touching of a corpse, arson, obstructing justice and violating rules against drinking alcohol in a war zone.

Cortez and Barker, who both testified at Spielman’s court-martial, admitted raping the girl, Abeer Qassim Al-Janabiat, and said Green shot her parents and younger sister. Green then raped the girl and killed her, and they poured kerosene on her body and set it on fire in an attempt to hide evidence of the crime, they testified.

Another soldier, Pvt. Bryan Howard, admitted to monitoring radio traffic during the attack and was sentenced to five years in prison. The three soldiers could be paroled much earlier.

The killings outraged Iraqis and ratcheted up tension in the war zone. Jurors came to their decision late Friday evening. Spielman faces a mandatory life. The soldier’s grandmother, Nancy Hess, collapsed outside the courtroom after the verdict was read.

Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III and Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda stood in neighboring courtrooms at Camp Pendleton, Ca., to receive their sentences from jury panels of their combat-hardened peers. Hutchins, who oversaw the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi man in Hamdaniya last year, received 15 years in prison, a demotion and a dishonorable discharge.


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