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Steven Dale Green suicide: former US soldier convicted of murdering an Iraqi family found dead in his prison cell

The 28-year-old was serving life in an Arizonan prison
  • @kashmiragander

Steven Dale Green, the former US soldier who was serving life sentences for killing an Iraqi family and raping a girl, has hanged himself in prison.

The 28-year-old from Midland, Texas, was found in his cell by prison officials on Saturday at the federal penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, examiner Dr Eric Peters confirmed after an autopsy on Tuesday.

Mr Green served as a private in the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line when he was deployed to Iraq.

It was there that he and three other US soldiers visited the al-Janabi family home in Mahmoudiya, near the so-called “Triangle of Death” traffic checkpoint where they were stationed in March 2006.

During the incident, Mr Green shot and killed three members of the family before three of them raped 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. They then killed her before setting her corpse on fire.

Mr Green was discharged from the military in May 2006 after being found to have a personality disorder, and was sentenced in 2009 after he became the first American soldier to be convicted under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.

Signed in 2000, the law gives the federal government jurisdiction to pursue criminal cases against US. citizens and soldiers for acts committed in foreign lands.

Three other soldiers — Jesse Spielman, Paul Cortez and James Barker — are serving lengthy sentences in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for their roles in the attack, but each will be eligible for parole in 2015.

Mr Barker and Mr Cortez pleaded guilty and acknowledged taking part in the rape. Spielman went to trial and was convicted because prosecutors said he knew what was planned. A fourth soldier, Bryan Howard, stayed behind at the checkpoint and later pleaded guilty to being an accessory. He served 27 months in Fort Leavenworth.

A federal jury in Paducah spared Mr Green a death sentence in 2009, but US District Judge Thomas B. Russell ordered Mr Green to serve multiple life sentences.

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Additional Reporting by Associated Press