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article imageSoldier gets 100 years for rape, killing

By Chris V. Thangham     Feb 23, 2007 in World
A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 100 years in prison Thursday for the gang rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the killing of her family last year.
Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, also was given a dishonorable discharge. He will be eligible for parole in 10 years under the terms of his plea agreement.
Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, and three others soldiers attacked a home and raped a 14 year old, then killed her along with her parents and a young sister. He pleaded guilty this week to four counts of felony murder, rape and conspiracy to rape. He confessed this in his plea agreement that he attacked this home with the three soldiers.
Cortez was apologetic for his crimes and said, he still doesn't know why he did it, the lives of four innocent people were taken. He apologized for all the pain and suffering he caused the al-Janabi family.
The military judge hearing the case, Col. Stephen R. Henley, issued a sentence of life in prison without parole, the maximum for the charges. Under military law, the defendant is given the lesser sentence unless he violates terms of the plea agreement, which requires Cortez to testify against others charged in the case.
Psychologist Charles Figley who testified in this case, said these soldiers suffered lots of stress due to fatigue and trauma of seeing deaths everyday. This has been identified in other wars also, so this situation is not unique.
Five soldiers who served with Cortez in Iraq testified that his actions were out of character and described the hardships of war they experienced, including sleep deprivation and the lack of running water.
Prosecutors however said the stress was no excuse for the actions of Cortez and the other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell.
Cortez was found not guilty of more serious charges of premeditated murder and conspiracy to premeditated murder.
The other soldiers, Pfcs. Jesse Spielman, 22, and Bryan Howard, 19, await courts-martial. The discharged soldier, Green, who is accused of being the ringleader will be prosecuted in a federal court in Kentucky next.
The Judge gave the right punishment to the soldiers, these soldiers have bought bad names to other soldiers who are fighting hard every day. The Military showed the Iraqis that whoever does the wrong thing, will be punished fairly.
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