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Soldier Arraigned for Murder, Rape

October 28, 2006

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) _ The Army arraigned a 101st Airborne Division soldier Friday who was charged with the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and three others in her family.

Pfc. Bryan L. Howard is accused of plotting in March to rape and murder the teenager in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Three other soldiers and a former Army private from the division’s 502nd Infantry Regiment also face charges related to the attack.

Howard deferred entering a plea or scheduling a court-martial during the proceedings at Fort Campbell. Both his attorney, Cpt. Ryan Rosauer, and his father Lynn Howard in the audience, declined to speak to reporters.

Two other soldiers accused of rape and murder with him in the attack _ Sgt. Paul E. Cortez and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman _ could be given the death sentence if they are convicted, a military judge ruled earlier this month. Both will be arraigned soon, the military said.

Former Army private Steve Green also faces rape and murder charges but is being tried in federal court.

In a separate hearing Friday, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard was arraigned on charges he and three others in the division’s 187th Infantry Regiment killed three Iraqi detainees during a raid of a suspected al-Qaida stronghold near Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

He deferred entering a plea.

Defense attorneys also filed a motion Friday to release Girouard from pretrial confinement, where he has been since his unit came home in September. Lt. Col. Richard Anderson, the military judge, did not rule on the motion.

Four of nine soldiers from the division accused of wartime atrocities have been arraigned and await courts-martial.

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