PADUCAH, Kentucky (AFP) – One of the five US soldiers who helped rape an Iraqi girl and kill her family told jurors Friday that he regrets what happened that day in March 2006.
This 2005 photo obtained from the US Army shows then Pfc. Steven Green, preparing to blast a lock off the gate of an abandoned home during a search operation in Mullah Fayed, Iraq. One of the five US soldiers who helped rape an Iraqi girl and kill her family told jurors Friday that he regrets what happened that day in March 2006.
"I should have had more sense that that," James Barker testified, calling the crimes "barbaric" and saying his actions that day went against how he was raised.
Barker, now serving a 90-year-term in a military prison, was testifying at the civil trial of the atrocity's alleged ringleader.
is being tried in federal court in Kentucky because he was discharged from the army due to a "personality disorder" before his involvement in the crime came to light.
He could face the death penalty if convicted of raping 14-year-old Abeer al-Janabi and killing her father, mother and six year-old sister in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad.
Barker told jurors how being stationed in the so-called "triangle of death," working at an insufficiently fortified traffic checkpoint and having to make daily sweeps for bombs, caused him to develop a hatred of Iraqis.
"They talk to you, they pretend to be your friend, and then they try to kill you the next day," he said.
Killing an Iraqi family was Green's idea, Barker testified, but he said that he was the one who came up with the idea of raping the Iraqi teenager.
Jurors also heard from former Specialist Paul Cortez, who is now serving a 100-year sentence for his involvement.
Cortez said he attempted to rape Abeer al-Janabi but could not get an erection. He said he then held her down while Barker raped her.
When he heard gunshots in the room next door, Cortez said he ran to the door and found the rest of the family had been killed.
He said Green told them "he killed them all and that all of them were dead."
Cortez said that Green then raped the girl, put a pillow over her face and fired three shots into her head with an AK-47. Her body was then burned.
Rest in Peace Sister Abeer al-Janabi