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Investigator recommends court-martial in rape case



Published: Tue, September 5, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A U.S. Army investigator has recommended that four American soldiers accused in connection with the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl and the killing of her family face a court-martial, a lawyer in the case confirmed on Monday.

Col. Dwight Warren, the investigator, said in a report issued Sunday that "reasonable grounds exist to believe that each of the accused committed the offense for which he is charged."

The report was given to lawyers in the case and obtained by The Associated Press from David Sheldon, the lawyer of one of the defendants.

The four soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division are charged with raping Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in her family's home in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, then killing her along with her parents and her younger sister. Military prosecutors say the four set the teenager's body on fire to hide their crime.

The soldiers accused of rape and murder -- Spc. James P. Barker; Sgt. Paul E. Cortez; Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman of Chambersburg, Pa.; and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard -- could potentially face the death penalty. Another soldier, Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe, is accused of failing to report the attack but is not alleged to have been a direct participant.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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