Ft. Campbell Soldier Sentenced To Life In Prison For Rape

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) - A soldier was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with the possibility of parole for conspiring to rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and kill her and her family.

Spc. James P. Barker, one of four Fort Campbell soldiers accused in the March 12 rape and killings, pleaded guilty Wednesday and agreed to testify against the others to avoid the death penalty. Under the plea agreement, Barker will not serve more than 90 years in prison, said Lt. Col. Richard Anderson, the military judge presiding over the court-martial.

"This court sentences you to be confined for the length of your
natural life, with the eligibility of parole," Anderson said. It's unclear when Barker can apply for parole, but he is not expected to serve the entirety of his sentence.

Barker, 23, showed no reaction when the sentence was read. Afterward, Barker smoked a cigarette outside as a military bailiff watched over him. He grinned but made no remarks as reporters passed by him.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)