Steven D. Green

Steven D. Green
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mixed Emotions

Day 5

The prosecution’s case of the guilty/not guilty phase came to a close today. Green’s legal team decided to opt for the “casual Friday” option, giving him a plain-gray button down. Darren Wolff began his cross of now-inmate Barker, noting that Barker was mere acquaintances with Green, whereas he was friends with Cortez. Wolff also brought up how Barker was the go-to-guy for many illicit things, with the former private speaking of getting things such as “gin, whisky, beer, and pills” from an Iraqi officer named Pedro. Wolff attempted to bring in the pornography found in Barker’s inventory, but an objection was sustained.
Asked if alcohol was a coping mechanism while in Iraq, Barker agreed, “It allowed me to escape the everyday stuff…the never ending feeling of danger..” Wolff showed a picture of Barker hugging Casica, “he was a mentor to me,” he remarked. He also spoke of the aforementioned deaths of Lopez and Britt, and of watching Noah Galloway lose an arm and a leg to a trip-wire IED. When asked what this did to him and his fellow troops, he responded, “It diminished us even more than what we already were…it takes your legs out from under you… I felt that I wasn’t gonna live to come home.”
He spoke forlornly about his diagnosed PTSD, speaking of the nightmares, waking up yelling, crying, saying that “reflecting on everything is harder… when movies come on and a soldier’s friend dies in the movie… I feel pain for them and it hurts… it’s something you can’t turn off.” He said that TCP2 was more or less “just an abandoned house with no windows or doors.” Of the daily morning routine IED sweeps, “You walk down the street, and if you don’t get blown up by an IED you’re just lucky.” Wolff asked him if his assumption of being involved with 20 IED attacks was correct. Barker sounded bemused, “that sounds low… you stop counting after a while, it becomes normal.” Asked about his thoughts on Iraqis, “they talk to you and become your friend, and the next day they try to kill you, or they do kill you; anybody had potential to ham you and kill you, woman, child, or man.” He talked about seeing decapitated bodies floating down the river, finding body parts such as torsos with hands tied behind their back, and other… atrocities.
Wolff made a big point in Barker’s admitting that had Cortez have declined to go along with the plan, Barker would’ve done the same. Barker said he feels responsible for the killings: “I shoulda had more sense than that…it was against everything I stood for, it was against how I was raised.” After a long, thoughtful pause, he added “it was.... barbaric in a way.” Like every other co-defendant, Wolff combatively and rhetorically asked Barker, “the government can’t kill you, can they?” After speaking of the details of his 90 year plea deal, Wolff ended on a professional note, wishing “The best of luck to you, Mr. Barker.”
Questioning for the prosecution, James Lesousky brought Paul Cortez to the stand. An unusual occurrence, the court actually forgot to swear in Mr. Cortez, causing the few minutes of completed testimony to have to be redone. Of the crimes, he said he “knew what was goin’ on, we knew we were goin’ down to that house to have sex with that girl, and Barker and Green seemed to know where they were going to get there.” He spoke of throwing the girl to the ground. “I was trying to…… rape her? [pause] after a few seconds…. I couldn’t.” Lesousky asked if he knew Green was going to kill them, he replied “that wasn’t…the intention. Sh…stuff just went crazy…” He talked a little bit about getting sick at the crime scene after being called back to investigate, and of telling the other soldiers to keep this quiet. The cross examination of Cortez lasted 90 seconds, therefore, there’s not much to tell.
Bryan Howard testified next. He, like the rest of his former friends, told his story of the events that occurred on March 12, 2006. He talked about approaching the soldiers as they were playing poker and an “awkward silence” overcoming the table. “Cortez told me….about planning on going to some house and fuckin’ some chick” he would say. A new detail in the storm surrounding this case, Howard spoke of attempting to contact the team via the radio to tell them that there was a line of trucks waiting to be searched at the TCP, even though there were no such trucks. He talked about Cortez trying to keep things on the down low.
“He told us not to bring it up again… if anyone asked… ‘we didn’t know anything.’” He went on to tell of lying in the CID investigation and his dishonorable discharge. For the defense, Pat Bouldin asked Howard if TCP2 was the most dangerous, Howard said “absolutely.” He also questioned Howard about how he tried to divert the attention away from everyone still in the Army and put the focus on Green.
Another soldier testified, mostly that Green confessed to the killings after asking him if he “could keep a secret.”
Notes: whiskey + energy drinks = bad things happen

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