Private defers plea in killings

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) -- The Army arraigned a 101st Airborne Division soldier Friday who was charged with raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing three others in her family.
Pfc. Bryan L. Howard is accused of plotting in March to rape and kill the teenager in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Three other soldiers and a former Army private from the division's 502nd Infantry Regiment also face charges related to the attack.
Howard deferred entering a plea or scheduling a court-martial during the proceedings at Fort Campbell. Both his attorney, Cpt. Ryan Rosauer, and his father, Lynn Howard, in the audience, declined to speak to reporters.
Two other soldiers accused of rape and murder with him in the attack -- Sgt. Paul E. Cortez and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman -- could be given the death sentence if they are convicted, a military judge ruled earlier this month. Both will be arraigned soon, the military said.
Former Army private Steve Green also faces rape and murder charges but is being tried in federal court.
In a separate hearing Friday, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard was arraigned on charges he and three others in the division's 187th Infantry Regiment killed three Iraqi detainees during a raid of a suspected al-Qaida stronghold near Samarra.

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