Prosecutors say 21-year-old Pfc. Steven D. Green and other soldiers went to an Iraqi family's home, where he allegedly killed four people -- including a woman he and another soldier had allegedly raped.
FBI agents arrested Green last week and he was charged Monday. He's being held without bond in Charlotte, N.C., pending a transfer to Louisville, Ky. Green had served with the 101st Airborne, based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
U.S. officials have said they thought the victims were killed by militants. An affidavit filed in court says Green was discharged from the Army recently because of what the military called a "personality disorder." He could get a death sentence if convicted.
CBS News correspondent Jim Stewart reports that according to investigators, the incident took place near a U.S. manned checkpoint outside the village of Mamudiayh, an area of heavy fighting.
Green and three other soldiers allegedly entered a private house after a night of drinking. While the others held a 25-year-old Iraqi woman in the front room, Green took an Iraqi man, a woman and five year old girl into a back bedroom and closed the door. Shots were fired. "I just killed them. All are dead," Green allegedly told his buddies.
Green then allegedly raped the younger Iraqi woman before shooting her at least twice in the head and setting fire to her body, Stewart reports. One obvious question, he adds, is whether insurgents later targeted this unit in reprisal for the murders. For now, Stewart adds, there's no evidence that's the case
The case is being handled by federal prosecutors because Green has been discharged from the Army. According to an affidavit filed along with the criminal complaint, Green was discharged "before this incident came to light. Green was discharged due to a personality disorder."
He faces a possible death sentence if convicted of murder.
The affidavit, filed by FBI special agent Gregor J. Ahlers of Louisville, said Green and three other soldiers from the 101st's 502nd Infantry Regiment were working a traffic checkpoint in Mahmoudiya on March 12 when they conspired to rape a woman who lived nearby.
According to the affidavit's account, the soldiers changed their clothes before going to the woman's residence to avoid detection but retained several firearms.
The affidavit is based on interviews conducted by the FBI and investigators at Fort Campbell with three unidentified soldiers assigned to Green's platoon. One of the soldiers said he witnessed another soldier and Green rape the woman.
"After the rape, (the soldier) witnessed Green shoot the woman in the head two to three times," the affidavit said.
The allegations of rape could generate a particularly strong backlash in Iraq, a conservative, strongly religious society in which many women will not even shake hands with men who are not close relatives.
On Friday, the U.S. military acknowledged that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, had ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged slaying of a family of four in Mahmoudiya.
Four members of the 502nd have had their weapons taken away and were confined to a U.S. base near Mahmoudiya, officials said.
The suspects belong to the same unit as two soldiers kidnapped and killed south of Baghdad last month, a military official said on condition of anonymity because the case was under way.
The military has said that one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.
According to the affidavit filed Monday, investigators learned of the March 12 attack during a combat stress debriefing that occurred around June 20.
The defendant has waived a detention and identification hearing, and the Judge set a probable cause hearing for next Monday.