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Is it acceptable to defend by placing the blame on parents for the person's childhood?

Iraq rape-slaying prosecutors want death sentence...PADUCAH, Ky. – A former soldier convicted of raping an Iraqi teenager and murdering the girl and her family "signed his own name" to a death sentence because of the brutality of the killing spree, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutor Brian Skaret told jurors during closing arguments that former Pfc. Steven Dale Green intentionally raped and killed 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi after shooting her father, mother and sister.

"He crushed that family," Skaret said of the March 2006 attack in Mahmoudiya, Iraq, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. "And, in doing so, he signed his own name to this death sentence."

In his closing, defense attorney Scott Wendelsdorf said Green's family and the military failed him, leading him down the path to the killings. Green's tough childhood included being kicked out of his mother's house at age 14, and years

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 6:46 PM on May. 20, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Answers (10)
  • later the Army didn't offer enough leadership or counseling, the defense said.

    "America does not kill its broken warriors. It does not," Wendelsdorf said. "Spare this boy. For God's sake, spare him."

    Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, was convicted May 7 of rape and multiple counts of murder for the fatal attack on the al-Janabi family. Green and three other soldiers went to the home where Green shot the other family members before he was the third soldier to rape the girl before killing her.

    Jury deliberations began Wednesday afternoon.

    The other soldiers are serving long sentences in military prison but did not face the death penalty. They testified against Green, who was tried in federal court as a civilian because he had been discharged from the Army before his arrest.


    Answer by Anonymous at 6:46 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • The other soldiers are serving long sentences in military prison but did not face the death penalty. They testified against Green, who was tried in federal court as a civilian because he had been discharged from the Army before his arrest.

    In his closing argument, Skaret walked jurors through a series of photos from the shooting scene, including an image of 6-year-old Hadeel al-Janabi, which showed her hair band had been blown off.

    "Today is the day you can say no," Skaret said. "No, no, no, our soldiers do not do this. We are a good and decent people."

    During the sentencing phase of the trial, jurors heard from multiple witnesses that Green had little structure in his home life and little guidance from his parents.


    Answer by Anonymous at 6:47 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • Skaret said everyone has family issues, but those issues do not lead the majority of people to attack and kill an innocent family. Despite having a rough home life, Green chose to take part in the attack on the al-Janabi family, and his upbringing shouldn't be a factor in the jury decision, Skaret said.

    "We live in a country that is governed by the rule of law, not by the rule of emotion," Skaret said.

    Green's attorneys never denied Green's involvement in the attack. Wendelsdorf, though, said the stress of combat, combined with Green's pre-existing emotional and mental problems stemming from his childhood pushed him over the edge.

    Compounding that, Wendelsdorf said, is the Army saw all the signs of a soldier in trouble, who would likely act on talk of wanting to kill Iraqi civilians, but did little to help Green.

    "They knew it. They ignored it," Wendelsdorf said. "It came to pass."


    Answer by Anonymous at 6:48 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • Nope.

    Answer by mancosmomma at 6:53 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • Oh come on--there are plenty of kids that have grown up with a lot worse having been done to them and who were abused terribly, yet grew up to be productive members of society and parents themselves. I'm sick of people blaming parents for everything that their adult children end up doing that is against the law. The fact that he had such a terrible childhood is based upon what? His own recollection or fact? If it was fact, then the military should have known this guy was on the edge to begin with so how in the hell did he even get to Iraq? Sometimes no matter what the parents do right in bringing up their child, the kid does things that are bad. If he is guilty and deathis the penalty then so be it--don't beg for mercy and place the blame on the parents.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:02 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • I don't think you can blame parents for what grown adults do. As an adult, you have the choice to live a bad life or to live a good one. Regardless of how your parents raise you, you have that choice. Your parents can be saints, and raise you as one, and you can still be a serial killer when you grow up. And your parents could be serial killers and you can choose to go the other way. Adult choices can't be laid at the feet of the parents.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 7:05 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • IMO this was an instance of a person who would've done something like this wether he was in the military or out on the streets. Its was only a matter of timing. There may be some cases where severe abuse can lead to someone not knowing right from wrong or developing a mental illness. However, I doubt this was one of those cases. And, a big part of the military is rebuilding you into a soldier. A person with confidence and morality. There are plenty of times through out processing and deployment where the do a mental health check. Some people can lie around those and appear to be stable, weven if they are not. Sometimes people slip through the cracks and use the "oppurtunity" of being in a foriegn land to act on things they probably would've done anyway. And I know many patriotic Americans who might say they want to do ~this~ or ~that~, but its just 'war' talk and when faced with the reality of it, they wouldn't do anything.

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 7:19 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • No. I've known people who had horrible childhoods but they are perfectly normal people. They chose to rise above their upbringing and become the person their parents should have been. It's a "blame someone else" society so people don't have to accept responsibility for their actions. Hopefully it won't work on this sicko.

    Answer by ashandamymom at 7:41 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • "little structure in his home life and little guidance from his parents" doesn't even come close to what I would call abuse that would cause some kind of mental issues to the degree that this man acted to rape that little girl and then commit murder of an entire family. This isn't the case of a child or teen doing something wrong, this soldier was an adult, someone who should have been trusted to protect that family. What he did was disgusting and there is no excuse for it. There is no excuse for what the others did either--they were all accomplices and took part in it. I hope he gets the death penalty.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:55 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • Its time for people to stop blaming others for their action, I personally know of a family,,who mother raised 6 kids by herself,all 6 are sucessful,her 1 son,not only has his masters,but,when he goes on business trips,a limo picks him up,he now speaks to young men who don't have fathers,letting them know, it's true,you can be all you want to be.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:18 PM on May. 20, 2009

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