Soldier sentenced to 110 years in rape and murder of Iraqi


ORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky (AP) -- A soldier convicted of rape and murder in an attack on an Iraqi teenager and her family was sentenced Saturday to 110 years in prison.

The military says Pfc. Jesse Spielman will also be reduced in rank and be dishonorably discharged.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement attorneys for Pfc. Jesse Spielman had made with prosecutors.

It set the number of years he could serve in prison, regardless of the jury's recommendation.

The jury had recommended life with parole, a sentence under which he would have to wait longer for the possibility of parole. He will be eligible for parole after 10 years.

Spielman was convicted late Friday of rape, conspiracy to commit rape, housebreaking with intent to rape and four counts of felony murder.

Military prosecutors did not say Spielman took part in the rape or murders but alleged that he went to the house knowing what the others intended to do and served as a lookout.

Spielman, 23, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, received the longest sentence of four soldiers who have been convicted. Three other soldiers pleaded guilty under agreements with prosecutors for their roles in the assault and were given sentences ranging from five to 100 years.

Spielman's grandmother, Nancy Hess, collapsed outside the courtroom after the verdict was read; prosecutor Maj. William Fischbach ran to her side and called 911. Soldiers in Spielman's unit fanned the woman with napkins.

Spielman's sister, Paige Gerlach, screamed: "I hate the government. You people put him [in Iraq] and now, this happened."

Defense attorneys left immediately after the verdict was returned and could not be reached for comment.

Spielman had pleaded guilty on Monday to lesser charges of conspiracy to obstructing justice, arson, wrongfully touching a corpse and drinking. The 110-year sentence encompasses those crimes, too.

The case stemmed from the March 12, 2006, rape and slaying of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, 14, and the killings of her parents and sister. The attack took place in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday amid struggles to overcome a fellow soldier's recanting of a story that Spielman acted as a lookout.

Spc. James Barker said in earlier testimony that he had allowed investigators to draft sworn statements for him that implicated Spielman.

Barker testified Wednesday that several portions of the document were untrue, including references to Spielman's role in the conspiracy to attack the family and his knowledge of plans to rape the girl.

But Sgt. Paul E. Cortez testified that Spielman stood guard. Cortez said Spielman was within a few feet of the others as they held down the screaming girl and did nothing to stop them.

Barker, Cortez and another soldier, Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, pleaded guilty for their roles.

Steven D. Green, who was discharged from the Army before being charged, faces a possible death sentence when he is tried in federal court in Kentucky. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that include murder and sexual assault.

Barker and Cortez gave investigators conflicting statements about whether Spielman knew of the plan to rape the girl and whether he was present when they discussed it over whiskey and gin, according to testimony.

During their courts-martial, Barker and Cortez testified they took turns raping the girl while Green shot and killed her mother, father and younger sister. Green shot the girl in the head after raping her, they said.

The girl's body was set on fire with kerosene to destroy the evidence, according to previous testimony.

Just love this bit:
The military says Pfc. Jesse Spielman will also be reduced in rank and be dishonorably discharged.
Death is to good for these evil cnuts. Let the ******* rot in solitary confinement on starvation rations and no possible medication.
Personally I'd have their fcuking balls chopped off and some lucky girls shove them up their arse. See if they still smile then.
Evil Bastards
They should all have been stripped of their uniforms, dragged outside and shot.

The price of the bullet billed to their wages.

They behaved like animals, I am glad I was nowhere near, I would probably be up for a murder charge (and being billed for some 5.56mm rounds!!!)


Deleted 20555 said:
I thought America was very big on the death penalty?
They may be but this was a plea bargain.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement attorneys for Pfc. Jesse Spielman had made with prosecutors.
He will be eligible for parole after 10 years.
Deleted 20555 said:
I thought America was very big on the death penalty?
It looks like his sentence is for aiding/abetting, conspiracy and pleading in exchange for testimony. Only the alleged ringleader, Green, is layin' to get smoked.

I'm not making a plea for clemency at all (Spielman's been been found guilty and I hope he has fun in jail for the next century -- cnut) but I am concerned about the next trial as I am uncomfortable with any death penalty sentence that relies primarily on eyewitness testimony, particulary that of co-conspirators. I think we all know that someone who's concerned about saving his own ass may not be the most reliable source of information.

I don't know if the answer would be uniformity (no pun intended) of sentencing....but then again, they'd never have gotten the testimony.

On the other hand, the Tankie is adamant that when you sign on the dotted line, normal standards of justice no longer apply. And post-My Lai, if you are anywhere near something like this and you can't actively prove that you tried to stop it by pointing your rifle at a fellow soldier, then you'd better be prepared to face some very harsh sentencing. So a gigantic "boo fcuking hoo" for anyone involved (and an interest in seeing them all hung) from the serving half.
They got what they deserved. They transformed from disciplined soldiers to sub human rabble and will now have time to ruminate on that fact.
We should have sentencing here that fully reflects the crime of child rape and murder.

The military hierarchy was rather disingenuous as well, originally saying that they had murdered a young woman and blustering over the truth that they had brutally gang-raped and then murdered a child. That bunch of animals should all have been turned over for trial by the Iraqi civil system, as this is a criminal crime against Iraqi civilians. They should all have hanged.

Mind you this Spielman guy only stood guard, rather than being an active rapist and murderer, so it's a bit strange that he got the worst sentence of the lot so far.

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