Lawyer Vows Insanity Defense in Ex-soldier's Trial

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A former Army soldier charged with raping
and killing an Iraqi teenager, then slaying her family, will rely
on an insanity defense at trial, a defense attorney said Thursday.
Federal Public Defender Scott Wendelsdorf said during a
conference call with prosecutors and a judge that former 101st
Airborne soldier Steven Dale Green will rely on medical experts'
evaluation of his medical condition in fighting the charges against
him.
"My whole defense is going to be not guilty by reason of
insanity," Wendelsdorf said.
Green, of Midland, Texas, faces a possible death sentence if
convicted on 16 charges that include premeditated murder and
aggravated sexual assault in 2006. He pleaded not guilty in
November 2006. Green is scheduled to face trial on April 27, 2009,
in Paducah.
Green's attorneys previously filed a notice of a possible
insanity defense, which allowed defense lawyers to have their
client examined. Wendelsdorf's comments on Thursday marked the
first time in the long-running case that attorneys made clear how
they intend to defend Green.
An insanity defense means a jury can find the person not guilty
by reason of insanity if a severe mental disease or defect rendered
that person unable to appreciate the nature or the wrongfulness of
his acts.
Green has been examined nearly three dozen times since March
2006, when the alleged crime occurred. Much of the conference call
involved the mechanics of defense attorneys forwarding medical
reports and tests to prosecutors for review.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Ford told U.S. District Judge
Thomas Russell that some reports and materials were slow in
arriving, making it difficult to consult with experts who could
rebut the insanity defense.
"I need them now, basically," Ford said.
Wendelsdorf said prosecutors have all the documents the defense
does and should have anything still outstanding before the
Christmas holidays.
Green was deployed in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division when
authorities say the assault took place in 2006. The unit is based
at Fort Campbell, an Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border
about 185 miles southwest of Louisville.
Green is being prosecuted in federal court because he was
discharged from the military before being charged.
Two of the soldiers testified they took turns raping the girl
while Green shot and killed her mother, father and younger sister.
Four other soldiers pleaded guilty or were convicted for their
roles in targeting the girl after seeing her at a checkpoint near
Mahmoudiya. Prosecutors say Green raped, killed and set afire the
body of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and shot and killed her
father, mother and sister in a house in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles
from Baghdad, in March 2006.
Two of the soldiers testified in courts martial proceedings that
they took turns raping the girl while Green shot and killed the
family. They also testified that Green raped the girl and shot her.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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