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US Soldier Sentenced to Life for Iraq Rape, Murder


A U.S. soldier has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape of an Iraqi girl and the murders of the girl and three members of her family.

A military judge at Fort Campbell in the southeastern state of Kentucky said Specialist James Barker's sentence Thursday includes the possibility of parole, but it was not clear when Barker can first apply for a reduced sentence.

Barker pleaded guilty Wednesday as part of an agreement with prosecutors and he will cooperate against other suspects in the case. He was one of five soldiers accused in the rape and killings last March in the town of Mahmoudiya south of Baghdad.

Three other soldiers, Sergeant Paul Cortez, Private Jesse Spielman and Private Bryan Howard, are facing charges for their alleged roles in the incident. A fifth man, former soldier Steven Green, is standing trial in a civilian court in the United States.

The soldiers in the Mahmoudiya case are accused of killing a 14-year-old girl and her relatives in order to conceal the rape. Green also has been charged with burning the girl's body to hide the crime.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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