LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Weeping relatives of a murdered Iraqi family confronted the killer yesterday in a U.S. courtroom and said he deserved to die.
The object of their outrage, former Pfc. Steven Dale Green, convicted of murder and rape, apologized and said he would face "God's justice."
In a hearing that turned emotional at times, surviving members of the Janabi family gestured and questioned Green, convicted earlier this month of killing four people in Iraq.
Hajia al-Janabi, the grandmother of two victims, tried to approach Green at the defense table. As federal marshals led her back to the gallery, she shouted: "I just want to see him! I just want to see him! You have no mercy!"
Green, speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest nearly three years ago, told his victims' relatives that he would face "God's justice" after spending the rest of his life in prison. The statement came as part of a sentencing hearing for Green, 24, of Midland, Texas. The rest of the hearing and formal sentencing are scheduled for Sept. 4.
"When I die, I'll be in God's hands," Green said. "In the kingdom of God, there will be justice, and whatever I deserve, I'll get."
A civilian jury convicted Green on May 7 of multiple counts, including conspiracy, rape, and murder in the March 12, 2006, killings of Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and her father, mother, and 6-year-old sister near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
The jury failed to agree on a sentence for Green, meaning he automatically receives life imprisonment without parole. He could have been sentenced to death.
During Green's nearly four-week trial, witnesses described how he and three other soldiers went to the Janabi home, where Green shot Abeer's father, Kassem; her mother, Fahkriya; and her younger sister, Hadeel, while two soldiers raped Abeer in the next room.
After shooting the family members, Green became the third soldier to rape Abeer before shooting her in the head. Her body was lit on fire.
Green had been assigned to the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division. He was discharged from the Army in May 2006 with a personality disorder. Because he was arrested after being discharged, he was tried in civilian court.