KEYSER, W.Va. — Spc. Lynndie R. England, the U.S. Army reservist who became one of the most recognizable and notorious faces of the Iraq war after photos of her and naked Iraqi prisoners were leaked to the international media in 2003, is out of prison and back home in Mineral County.

England, a 2001 graduate of Frankfort High School who joined the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown in order to earn money for her education, was convicted of conspiracy, maltreating Iraqi detainees and committing an indecent act on Sept. 26, 2005, and sentenced to three years in military prison as a result of the scandal at Abu Ghraib Prison near Baghdad.

Friday, England family attorney Roy T. Hardy of Keyser confirmed England had been paroled March 1 after serving approximately half of her sentence at a military prison located near San Diego.

“She said she was in there exactly 521 days,” Hardy said. “Generally, everyone serves approximately half their sentence before they can be considered for parole.”

March 1 was England’s first opportunity to be considered for release.

England, who joined the Army Reserve when she was still a junior at Frankfort High School, first caught the attention of a shocked world when photos were released of her posing with naked detainees, smiling and giving the “thumbs up” sign while pointing to the Iraqis’ genitalia.

Throughout the investigation and court-martial proceedings, she maintained that she posed in the photos only at the direction of her superiors.

Her defense also claimed that, at 20, she was especially influenced by a fellow soldier, Spc. Charles Graner, 35, with whom she fell in love and who later became the father of her child.

Members of England’s family, who held a press conference at the Fountain Fire Hall when news of the scandal broke, also maintained England’s role was one of compliance.

“Certain people in the Army told her to do what she did. She was following orders,” said her sister, Jessica Klinestiver, who called England “a kind-hearted, dependable person.”

Hardy declined to comment on any conditions of England’s parole, but said her official status is listed as “voluntary leave” while she serves out the rest of her time.

“It’s considered ‘voluntary’ because she could have elected to stay in prison and serve out her term,” he said.

Once she completes her term of parole, the Army will issue a dishonorable discharge and “the ordeal will be over,” he said.

Since she is technically still in the Reserve until that happens, England has declined to comment on the incidents at Abu Ghraib or the court martial proceedings.

Although her family still lives in the Fort Ashby area, England and her son are keeping a low profile as they stay elsewhere in the county with friends.

Liz Beavers can be reached at lbeavers@times-news.com.

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