Steven D. Green

Steven D. Green
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

People kill people

Day 4

♫On the fourth day of trial, lawyers gave to Green-- yet another sweater vest, this time red.
For the first segment of today's proceedings, the prosecution called a plethora of FBI agents to the stand, most of which, in my humblest of opinions, didn't have much to say. First was Special Agent Steve Vogt. Vogt has been an FBI agent for 20 years, one of those he spent in Iraq. He testified that a month after arriving in Iraq, he was contacted for assistance in finding the AK47 that was allegedly used in the crimes. He spoke of using SONAR imaging equipment to search for the missing weapon. Pictures of the dive operation were examined and presented to the jury. He was also questioned about the inability to exhume the bodies of the victims.
For the defense, Bouldin pointed out the number of soldiers required to make the area safe for the dive.
Next up was Special Agent Christopher Lando. Lando was an agent in the Asheville, NC area at the times of Green's arrest. He said he was informed of Green's presence in the area and organized his arrest on the same day. After being arrested, Green allegedly commented to Lando that he "wished [the FBI] would've called, because [Green] would've just turned himself in." When asked if he wanted his grandmother to know the story, Green reportedly agreed before having a change of heart, saying "No no, I don't want to upset her." He was allowed to have "a cigarette or two" before being taken away in a police car. Wendelsdorf(D) deftly made light that it was a routine arrest for Lando, and that Green did not resist arrest at all.

Darren Wolff = Chris Cooper?
Special Agent Stewart Kelly was brought in, mostly to testify as to what Green had told him. According to Kelly, Green said things such as "You probably think I'm a monster," and "I knew you guys were coming," as well as "looks like I'll be spending the rest of my life in prison." He said that Green questioned on whether or not he would be tried in Federal or military court. Wendelsdorf once again pointed out that Green didn't resist, also that Green had returned to NC from one of his former Sergeant's funeral. Green allegedly said he knew that the FBI was coming and "wanted to enjoy his last minutes of freedom."
After the mid-morning break, the first of Green's co-defendants was called to the stand. Jesse V. Spielman appeared, wearing the typical "orange jumpsuit" worn by inmates. He told the jury how he asked to be placed in infantry because he "wanted to fight for his country." He also repeated things already mentioned in other testimonies such as Bravo Company's mission, and the length of stays at TCP2. He spoke of the aforementioned drinking and card games on March 12, 2006. He said he saw Spc. Barker and Pfc. Green talking, who "looked like they were having a private conversation." He said they went inside and started changing into all-black clothes which they called "ninja suits." He went on to describe Barker cutting through a fence with a Gerber multi-tool(which was exhibited to the jury). When Marisa Ford asked Spielman what he thought they were going to do, he hesitated before acknowledging that "heading out and roughing people up wasn't that uncommon so I figured we were going to a residence to rough people up." It was stipulated that Green did not participate in any other incident involving "roughing up" of Iraqis.

After the lunch recess, Spielman described entering the house and keeping watch while Barker and Cortez separated 14-year-old Abeer from her family. He agreed to hearing three gunshots and that, after asking Green if everything was okay, Green replied "everything's fine", before letting him see the bodies of Qasim, Fakrhiya, and Hadeel. He said he knew they were dead because there was "blood scattered on the wall & part of the father's cranium was missing." Accordingly, Spielman walked out of that room and witnessed the rape of Abeer. The prosecution lent the model of the Al-Janabi house to Spielman for better clarification of the events and how they happened. When an M14 shotgun was brought out for demonstrative purposes, the court enjoyed a moment of humor as Marisa Ford, holding the weapon, declared "Judge, these have all been rendered safe but since I clearly have no clue what I'm doing," "and you're pointing it at me," (D)Wendelsdorf added. Spielman was confused, "I didn't really know what to do," he said, "It was an unsafe area and three out of my four squad members were involved so I couldn't leave and run back to TCP2." He testified to seeing Green unbuttoning his pants and getting down between Abeer's legs and raping her, after which he took a pillow and put it over Abeer's head and fired an AK47 into the pillow, killing her. At this, the defendant was spotted looking down. He then watched Barker pour a liquid onto her body. While her body was burning, he added clothes and blankets to fuel the flames, "to destroy evidence," he said.
He continued, describing Cortez & Barker washing their chests and genitalia back at TCP2, and how he himself threw the AK47 into the canal. When asked why he didn't turn his squad members in, he "didn't feel right, telling on people [he] served with." He was also fearful of retaliation from his fellow troops.
On cross, it was easy to see Spielman recalling the events past. Wendelsdorf pinned him down to "hoping for a recommendation from parole board for giving truthful testimony in all cases involved." A picture of Spielman after graduation from boot camp was shown. Asked on his thoughts about heading to Iraq at that time, he "was looking forward to going over there. I was enthusiastic."
According to Spielman, Casica & Nelson were very friendly and courteous to Iraqis, often giving candy and school supplies to Iraqi children. Wendelsdorf questioned if anything changed his view of them. Spielman told of how he witnessed one of Casica's informants approach them at TCP2, shaking Casica's hand before drawing a revolver and shooting Casica and Nelson. Spielman gunned down the informant, saying that "It was devastating to me. Stories of kids, women, elders, really anyone could be an insurgent..." Asked if this event changed Green's view of Iraqis, he wholeheartedly agreed. "Yes, it changed everybody's view." The next subject was the explosive death of their superiors, Britt & Lopez. "It literally blew Lopez in half, and killed Britt too." Wendelsdorf reminded him that he had found Britt's jaw lying on the ground, to which he conversed "It's something you can't describe... they're alive and talking to you minutes before, then minutes later you're picking up their body parts."
The next point from the defense was the burning of the soldier's Forward Operating Base. All the soldiers lost their homely items. Letters, family pictures, programs from the memorial services of Casica and Nelson, and even laptops were lost. While soldiers were reimbursed for ~80% of the value of their material items lost, he said it was the niceties from home that mattered the most. He stated that Sgt. Fenalson was very adamant about shaking Iraqi hands. At this, Spielman said "I wasn't about to follow his advice and shake people's hands," implying the deaths of Casica & Nelson. "Fenalson cared more 'bout the Iraqis than he did us." His testimony ended there.

Spc. James Barker was brought to the stand next. I noted that every military witness, and the defendant, all showed their militaristic style, standing at attention when the "all rise," call came from the U.S. Marshalls. Barker said that on the day of the killings, they were playing poker and talking, mostly "bullshit at first, then Green turned the conversation to killing Iraqis." Barker admitted that he was the one who brought up the Al-Janabi house, having seen the house and family on a recent patrol; he also admitted that he first implied raping the girl to Green.
According to Barker, "Cortez took a little convincing to get him to come along. He said if we were gonna have sex with the girl, he wanted to go first." He testified to ushering the 5-year-old girl and father into the house, and then separating 14-year-old Abeer from her family. He said that he held Abeer's hands down while Cortez raped her in mere seconds, while Green shot the remaining three family members. When Cortez was finished, they switched places, with Abeer screaming and crying the entire time. Afterwards, Green raped her, and then shot her.

Trial adjourned early. Barker will be crossed tomorrow, expect Sgt. Casica to play a semi-significant role.


  1. I appreciate the daily blogs on the trial. I'm anxiously following your daily posts. I finally 'signed in' and am officially 'following'.
    I haven't come across any other place online that's offering play-by-play accounts of the courts events as you are.
    Keep up the good work! This is an awesome opportunity for a young aspiring journalist!

  2. Wondering what happens around the court house? Do people talk about what they think the outcome will be?
    Thanks for your coverage. You've really got talent.