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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2007, 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK
US soldier sentenced to 110 years
Private Jesse Spielman
Contradictory statements were made about Pfc Spielman's role
A US soldier has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family.

Private Jesse Spielman was convicted of conspiracy to rape and murder.

He said he acted as a lookout for four other soldiers who carried out the attack in Mahmudiya in March 2006.

Pfc Spielman was given the longest sentence of the group. Three other soldiers pleaded guilty and received sentences between five and 100 years.

The fifth man faces trial in a civil court having been discharged from the army.

'Untrue' allegations

Earlier in the week-long court martial at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Pfc Spielman of the 101st Airborne Division admitted arson, conspiracy to obstruct justice, wrongfully touching a corpse and drinking.

Although prosecutors did not accuse Pfc Spielman of taking part in the rape or murders, they argued he had participated in the planning of the attack while drinking whisky and playing cards with the other soldiers.


One of the soldiers convicted of the attack, Sgt Paul Cortez, said that Pfc Spielman had stood within a few feet of them as they held down Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and had done nothing to stop them raping her.

The soldiers then killed Miss Janabi, her parents and her younger sister.

But another, Spc James Baker, testified that several portions of a sworn statement, which he had allowed investigators to draft, had falsely exaggerated Pfc Spielman's role in the attack.

On Friday evening, the military jury ruled that Pfc Spielman was guilty of conspiracy to commit rape, rape, housebreaking with intent to commit rape and four counts of felony murder.

Spc Barker, Sgt Cortez and another soldier, Pf. Bryan L Howard, pleaded guilty for their roles in the slayings and received sentences of five to 100 years under plea agreements with prosecutors.

The alleged ringleader, former Pvt Steven Green was discharged from the army for a "personality disorder" before being charged. He faces a possible death sentence if found guilty by a civil court in Kentucky.

On Friday, a US marine sergeant was found guilty of murdering an Iraqi civilian in a separate attack, and jailed for 15 years by a court martial in California.

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