LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Prosecutors asked a federal judge Friday to force the testimony of three soldiers convicted of taking part in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl against a former soldier being tried in the case.

Prosecutors said the three soldiers convicted in military court are likely to refuse to testify against former 101st Airborne Pfc. Steven Dale Green, who will be tried in civilian court.

Acting U.S. Attorney Candace Hill said the soldiers, James Barker, Paul Cortez and Anthony Yribe, may invoke their right against self-incrimination if called to testify at trial.

The three testified in military court that Green raped and shot Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, then shot and killed her family in March 2006 in Mahmoudiya, Iraq.

Green, 23, of Midland, Texas, faces a possible death sentence if convicted. He pleaded not guilty in November 2006.

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

Barker and Cortez, who were assigned with Green to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division, each pleaded guilty in military court to their roles in the proceedings.

Barker was sentenced to 90 years in prison while Cortez received 100 years in prison.

Capt. Howard Clayton, an attorney for Cortez, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday evening. Attorneys for Barker and Yribe could not immediately be located Friday. A message left for Darren Wolff, one of Green’s attorneys, was not immediately returned Friday.

Hill said in the motions that the testimony of each soldier “may be necessary to the public interest.”

Barker told a military court that Green approached him with a plan to attack the family as the soldiers drank whiskey bought from Iraqi soldiers.

Barker described changing clothes, then climbing through backyards as the five soldiers left the checkpoint they had been manning to carry out the attack.

Barker and Cortez also described how they raped the teenager with Green before Green killed the girl, her younger sister and parents. Barker initially told a military jury Cortez pushed the girl to the ground and lifted the girl’s dress. Barker said he knelt on the girl’s hands.

Later, Barker testified that he had allowed investigators to draft sworn statements for him that implicated another soldier and that several portions of the document were untrue.

Cortez, of Barstow, Calif., pleaded guilty to four murders, rape and conspiracy to rape to avoid the death penalty. Cortez, in his plea agreement, said while raped her, Green shot and killed the girl’s parents and younger sister.

Cortez testified that he then acted as a lookout while Green raped the girl, and Green shot her. Cortez helped burn the girl’s body and the home, then burned his clothes.

Yribe received an “other than honorable” discharge after pleading guilty to failing to report the incident.

Yribe, who responded to the scene after it was reported by Iraqi soldiers, testified at a court-martial that Green and Cortez were waiting for him at a checkpoint after Yribe visited the scene. Yribe said Green immediately told him he had attacked the family.

Another soldier, Pfc. Jesse Spielman, was convicted of his role in the attack. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison, but could get parole after 10 years. Military prosecutors did not say Spielman took part in the rape or murders but say he went to the house knowing what the others intended to do and served as a lookout.

AP-ES-04-24-09 1932EDT


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