Soldier's Iraq Rape and Murder Trial Delayed to Accommodate Quilt Show

The trial of a former U.S. soldier charged with raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her and her family near a checkpoint near Mahmoudiya, a village 20 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, has been delayed by two weeks to accommodate a quilt show.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell ordered former Pvt. Steven D. Green's trial delayed from April 13, 2009 to April 27 because the National American Quilt show is in Paducah during the original trial date. Attendance at the show would make it difficult to secure enough hotel rooms for trial participants, Russell said in a ruling issued Tuesday. Jury selection in the case will begin April 6, Russell ruled.

Green, 22, faces a possible death sentence if convicted on 16 charges that include premeditated murder and aggravated sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty in November 2006.

Green was deployed in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division when the assault took place in 2006.

Green is being prosecuted in federal court because he was discharged from the military before being charged.

Four other soldiers pleaded guilty or were convicted for their roles in targeting the girl and helping rape and kill her.

Two of the soldiers testified they took turns raping the girl while Green shot and killed her mother, father and younger sister. They also testified that Green raped the girl and shot her.

The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act allows prosecutors to try military personnel in federal court if they are no longer in the service and charged for a crime punishable by at least a year in prison. Green offered to re-enlist in the Army and face a court-martial for the rape and murder, but was turned down, defense attorneys said in the motion.