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US soldier gets 110-years jail for rape, murder

world Updated: Aug 05, 2007 10:14 IST

IANS
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A US soldier convicted of raping and murdering an Iraqi girl and killing her family last year has been sentenced to 110 years in prison, the military said.

Private First Class Jesse Spielman, 23, was convicted late on Friday by a military court at Ft Campbell, Kentucky of rape, conspiracy to commit rape, housebreaking with intent to rape and four counts of felony murder.

Spielman was among five soldiers charged in the March 2006 attack on the family in Mahmoudiya, a village about 32 kms south of Baghdad. On Saturday, he received the longest sentence of four soldiers who have been convicted.

On March 12, 2006, five US soldiers, all from the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, conspired to rape 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in Mahmoudiya, prosecutors said.

They then broke into Janabi's home, killed her parents and six-year-old sister, and raped and murdered her. Later, they put kerosene on the girl's body and set it on fire to destroy evidence.

Spielman had pleaded guilty on Monday to lesser charges of conspiracy to obstructing justice, arson, wrongfully touching a corpse and drinking, but not guilty of raping and murder. The 110-year sentence was said to be part of a plea agreement between his attorneys and the prosecutors.

James Barker, another soldier involved in the rape and murder, was sentenced to 90 years in jail in November 2006 under a plea agreement, and has agreed to testify against the others in the case. Two other soldiers have also pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from five to 100 years.

The fifth defendant, former soldier Steven Green, has been charged in a federal court because he was discharged from the army before the murder allegations surfaced. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder and sexual assault.

Prosecutors have said that they would seek death for Green, the mastermind of the crime. Two of his accomplices have testified that Green shot and killed Janabi's parents and sister while they were gang-raping her. He then killed Janabi after their sexual assaults.