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U.S. Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Family Dies in Prison

A former soldier likely committed suicide in prison where he was serving several life terms for gunning down four members of an Iraqi family while he was deployed to their country.

The case was the first prosecuted under a new law governing military cases in civilian courts.

Steven Dale Green, 28, of Midland, Texas, was found unresponsive Saturday morning in his cell at the federal penitentiary in Tucson, Ariz., said federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman John Stahley.

Stahley said Green’s death is being investigated as a suicide.

Green was a private in the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line when he deployed to Iraq.

Steven Green
Former 101st Airborne Division Pfc. Steven Dale Green is escorted to the courthouse in Paducah, Ky., in 2009. Mark Humphrey / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Green and three other soldiers went to the home of an Iraqi family in Mahmoudiya, near a traffic checkpoint in March 2006. At the home, Green shot and killed three members of the al-Janabi family before becoming the third soldier to rape 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi before killing her. He was convicted and sentenced in 2009.

Three other soldiers — Jesse Spielman, Paul Cortez and James Barker — are serving lengthy sentences in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for their roles in the attack. Each is eligible for parole in 2015.

Green was the first American soldier charged and convicted under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. Signed in 2000, that law gives the federal government jurisdiction to pursue criminal cases against U.S. citizens and soldiers for acts committed in foreign lands.

Green was discharged from the military in May 2006 after being found to have a personality disorder.

— The Associated Press