LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Federal prosecutors filed notice Tuesday that they will seek the death penalty if former soldier Steven D. Green is convicted of killing an Iraqi family and raping a 14-year-old girl.
The notice, filed in U.S. District Court, cites 12 alleged offenses related to the slayings, including that the deaths were premeditated, involved sexual abuse and were committed with a firearm.
Green, a former 101st Airborne Division soldier, was indicted Nov. 1 in the rape and murder of the girl and the slayings of three others in her family in March 2006.
"The defense is obviously disappointed that Attorney General (Alberto) Gonzales is seeking to execute a former soldier," Green's public defender, Patrick Bouldin, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The attorney general has to approve all federal death penalty cases.
Bouldin declined to provide further comment.
Green was charged in a federal indictment with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual abuse, murder, aggravated sexual abuse, aggravated child sexual abuse, obstruction of justice and four counts of use of a firearm in a crime of violence.
Green, a 22-year-old former private first class from Midland, Texas, served 11 months with the 101st Airborne Division, which is based at Fort Campbell on the Tennessee state line. He received an honorable discharge and left the Army in May 2006. He was discharged because of an "anti-social personality disorder," according to military officials and court documents.
He is being tried in civilian court in Paducah, Ky., because he was discharged before he was charged. No trial date has been set.
Green's father, John Green, declined to comment Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Ford also declined to comment on the filing.
Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said he could not confirm whether any other soldier has been tried as a civilian for crimes committed while serving in Iraq.
Green was arrested in June 2006 in North Carolina as he traveled after attending the funeral of a soldier who was kidnapped and killed in Iraq, investigators said. Since then, he has been held in Kentucky without bond.
Three soldiers already have been convicted in military court for their roles in the attack in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad. A court-martial for a fourth soldier is scheduled July 30.
But Tuesday's notice means Green could face the harshest punishment among the five men charged.
Two soldiers avoided the death penalty by making plea agreements with military prosecutors for lesser sentences ranging from 90 to 100 years. A third soldier was sentenced to five years in prison but will not serve more than 27 months. Each of the soldiers agreed to help prosecutors prepare a case against Green.
The rape of the Iraqi girl and the slayings of her and three family members were among the worst in a series of alleged attacks on civilians and other abuses by military personnel in Iraq.
Investigators said the soldiers set fire to the girl's body to destroy evidence.
Soldiers have testified in military courts-martial and investigation hearings that the 13-month tour for Green's unit, the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, was bloody and grueling.
Dozens were killed in the unit's yearlong deployment and half of the battalion, including Green, sought help for combat stress.
An Associated Press investigation in January found that an Army psychiatry team diagnosed Green as a threat to Iraqi civilians four months before the rape and murders.
According to military documents, Green was treated with drugs to regulate his mood before returning to duty in a violent stretch of desert in the southern Baghdad suburbs known as the "Triangle of Death."