Steven D. Green

Steven D. Green
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Closing statements end; deliberation begins

Day 8
Closing statements have been heard and the jury is in deliberation as I write this. Marisa Ford and Scott Wendelsdorf presented excellent closing statements, albeit containin
g much conjecture, therefore much of what you will find here is direct quotation from his/her statement. The bold and italics found in quotations from the closings are my interpretation of the emphasis implied by that attorney. Also, both attorneys attempted to attack each of the 17 counts Green was charged with on an individual basis; as a result, I have left the “nitty gritty” out, although by the length of this particular post I’m sure you’ll say otherwise.
Marisa Ford began the prosecution’s closing by giving a short description of the events that occurre
d on March 12th, 2006. She told of the squad herding the family into their house(pictured here).She reminded the jury of Barker and Cortez raping Abeer while “Green, behind closed doors, blew Qassim Hamza’s brains out with his Army supplied shotgun.” According to Ford, he then took the AK47, “which was provided to the family for protection against insurgents,” and used it on the mother, Fahkriyah, and their six year old daughter, Hadeel.” She went on to describe Green’s sexual assault and execution style murder of Abeer, before he “burned her, beyond all recognition.” At this, Green(in a blue Polo) looked down but was still listening intently. She talked about Green having had the AK47 disposed of, and his not-so-impaired judgement. “This was a crime…not committed in the chaos of battle, not committed while on an Army assigned mission, but a crime planned, and acted out in cold blood.” Marisa cattle prodded the Defense team, referring to Pat Bouldin’s “dumbing things down” for the jury in his opening statement. “To ‘dumb things down’ for you is an insult to your intelligence,” Ford told the jury, “you don’t need things dumbed down to know that what Stephen Green did was wrong.” Mr. Bouldin frowned as he listened. She talked about the non existent evidence that would dispute the planning of this crime(regarding the conspiracy counts). The killings were “a result of planning and deliberation,” Ford intoned(referring to the four counts of pre-meditated murder). “Everything you have seen before, during, and after the crimes, all the evidence, shows pre-meditation.” She brought up Jesse Spielman’s testimony of seeing Green searching the floor for the Army-tagged shotgun shell he’d used on Qassim, and Bryan Howard’s testimony of Green standing on his cot after the crime saying “that was awesome.” She brought up the testimony about the calamity that was Iraq. “It’s easy to bring in soldiers and let them tell you how horrible Iraq was, and we should feel sympathy…you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel sympathy for these men. But you have to put these events in context, and put the sympathy aside,” Ford implored the jury. Ford was perhaps a tad ill at ease in her closing, but remained convincing and confident. “When those men left the [Al-Janabi] house, they left in concert, knowing full well that they would destroy evidence and attempt to cover up their actions.” As can be expected, Ford brought in Green’s mental state: “He was acting in full mental capacity…he knew what he was doing.” She also combated the descriptions of life in Iraq: “ A soldier in the Civil War once said ‘war is hell,’ – this is not a new concept. We’ve known this since our country’s founding, and I will agree, Iraq probably was a kind of hell on Earth.” She played on the pride of the jury, coming from both the US and Paducah, “What’s good about the United States is our respect for human life. We’re here because of that respect. The victims in this case are suffering no less than if these crimes were committed right here in Paducah.” Ford also, perhaps a bit viciously, attacked the Defense’s case regarding the deaths of fellow soldiers. “Using Casica and Nelsons death’s as an excuse for these horrific crimes dishonors all of Bravo Company!” At this, Green stared at Ford, looking… ‘peeved,’ I’ll call it. A picture of James Barker and Sgt. Nelson She spoke of how thousands of other soldiers “fought hard, even if they had feelings of revenge and anger, but still fought fairly and did the right thing when noone was looking.” She ended her cross with something from Brian Skaret’s opening: “These men forfeited their right to call themselves U.S. soldiers... when they did this, they were thugs, who planned out the murder and rape of the Al-Janabi family.” Scott Wendelsdorf began with one word: “Madness. Madness? Madness…is the only way that we could wind up where we are today. These crimes might as well have happened on an alien planet far removed from our conscience and livelihood.” Wendelsdorf talked about how the Army broke [the soldiers], failed them, and in turn “drove them to do horrible things.” He implied the law by which Green wound up here in Paducah and not in a military court martial by allaying “after which he was dragged before a jury who will never be able to understand what those brave young men went through,” Wendelsdorf said, attitude in tow. “So we find ourselves here before a jury of “peers” who will give Stephen Green a verdict and possibly a sentence…perhaps the ultimate sentence. Wendelsdorf told of Green succumbing to combat stress, and how the Army, “rather than treat him, help him, or cure him, gave him a handful of sleeping pills and sent him straight back into combat.” He reminded the jury of how he had to “drag” that testimony out of Colonel Kunk, and how even the psychiatrist Colonel Marrs ordered followups on Green, “and...? Nothing.” Wendelsdorf spoke of a two way street, implying that the Army had failed it’s soldiers. “If we send our young men over there to fight, under ‘engaged leadership’ as Kunk put it, we do it knowing that if our boys are injured, they will be cared for, if their mind’s are broken, they will be healed.” Perhaps the most tumultuous statement of the day’s proceedings, Wendelsdorf fired out “Did Green uphold being a U.S. soldier? HELL. NO.” he rhetorically questioned. “But did the Army uphold it’s part of the bargain? Absolutely not.” He brought in Anthony Yribe, telling of how “Yribe did nothing! Even when Green confessed to him!” He said that Yribe initiated the cover up, and that all the soldiers boldface lied to Kunk, CID, and others, but only when Yribe confessed did everyone else confess. “Sure, let’s talk about the cover up, but don’t point fingers at the defense table while you do it.” Scott rhetorically asked the jury “Steve sees his friends being murdered and blown to bits by insurgents… who’s bringing them to trial?!” He brought out Green’s age at the time of the crimes: “to a 19 year old kid, [Iraq is] a devastating reality.”
I noticed that Wendelsdorf left out the burning of the FOB which contained many a soldiers personal belongings, pictured below:Wendelsdorf sidelined the government's vying for the death penalty: "We have respect for human life in this country, yes. But Barker and Cortez were the ones who instigated the rape, and they will get to see a parole board in seven years. The prosecution is even writing letters to said parole board to assist them with their release from prison. Stephen Green? Not the case. Yes, we have respect for human life, but not across the board. They, the soldiers, got caught because Green reported the crime!" “Cortez? Parole board, 7 years. Barker? Parole board, 7 years. Spielman? Parole board, 7 years. Green? We want him dead.” He tried to allay some of the blame on Barker for picking the house and initiating the rape discussions. He reminded the jury that Ebel, Kunk, and Marrs all knew of Green’s state of mind, but let the snowball keep rolling. “Green was the weapon here, and Barker and Cortez pulled the trigger.” Wendelsdorf openly admitted that he wanted the jury to charge Green with 2nd degree murder, because the judge would handle the sentence, not the jury. For the ending, he agreed with the US that “Justice needs to be done for this family. Nothing justifies what happened to the Al-Janabi family. But, America owes it’s soldiers justice, too.” For the prosecution’s rebuttal, Jim Lesousky garnered some humor in saying “We(Scott & I) have been in court for a number of years, as you can tell by our white hair.” Wendelsdorf blurted out “objection!” getting a few laughs. “We agree on some things, disagree on others, but the most important thing, is that you are his peers and you must unanimously agree. Common sense is your most useful tool. War is bad and has been for 200 years, but that doesn’t justify the rape and murder of that family. I’m asking you to give a guilty verdict on all 16 counts” he ended. Green looked distastefully at Lesousky. After closing statements, Judge Russell excused six alternate jurors and gave the remaining jury of 9 women and 3 men their instructions(it was lengthy and repetitive). The jury went into deliberation at roughly 1PM Central time.
EDIT: Jury adjourned deliberation's for today at 5PM CST. They will resume at 9AM tomorrow.
-The crowd in the courtroom was quite larger than in days past today.
-When Marisa Ford showed the picture of 6 year old Hadeel, dead and bloody, several grunts were heard.
-WPSD correspondent Lauren Adams became the second person to be removed from the courtroom for using a cellular device. She returned at the next break.
-Marisa Ford objected to Wendelsdorf’s opinionated “you throw enough charges at the jury and hope to get a conviction on one or two.” It was sustained.
-Wendelsdorf complimented the jury, saying he’d never seen a more diligent jury, even taking notes during the closing arguments.


  1. Evan,
    I just found out about you blog on channel 6 news tonight. I have not read all your blogs yet but think you are doing a good job. Your post are better than what The Paducah Sun has reported on this trial.

  2. excellent, keep it up evan in your coverage. i am shuddering with sadness, and yes i am crying reading about this incident.....i hope justice is served!

  3. Thank you Evan for this amazing reporting!

  4. We only became aware of your excellent coverage today via via a comment (number 11) on the "Feministing" blogsite.

    We've put up a posting on our site crediting you and also on this well-known American site.

    Steven Dale Green Found Guilty On All CountsMy compliments to you. You have done some excellent reportage, and I sincerely hope your work will prove to be of benefit to you.