In 2007, members of the private military group Blackwater shot 31 unarmed civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square resulting in 14 deaths and 17 others wounded. Today, a jury convicted four men of murder and manslaughter charges related to the shooting, reported The Washington Post.
The jury, comprised of eight women and four men, convicted Nicholas Slatten of murder. Paul Slough was convicted of 13 counts of manslaughter and 16 counts of attempted manslaughter; Evan Liberty of eight counts of manslaughter and 12 counts of attempted manslaughter; and Dustin Heard of six counts of manslaughter and 11 counts of attempted manslaughter. Each of these three men were also charged with using firearms while committing a felony.
“This verdict is a resounding affirmation of the commitment of the American people to the rule of law, even in times of war,” said U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald C. Machen Jr. “I pray that this verdict will bring some sense of comfort to the survivors of that massacre.”
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth set their sentencing hearings for a later date. Slatten’s conviction has him facing a mandatory life prison sentence. The other three men face a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 years for the felony committed with a firearm charge without considering the other convictions.
During the Nisour Square Massacre, these four men opened fire with assault rifles and grenades on a crowd of innocent, unarmed civilians. The defense of the convicted men insisted that they were acting in self-defense by responding to an alleged, immediate threat. The attack left 31 unarmed civilians either dead or wounded.
Other than slaughtering innocent civilians, Blackwater also threatened the lives of American government workers. When the State Department initially launched an investigation into the Nisour Square slaughter, Blackwater manager Daniel Carroll threatened the life of government investigator Jean Richter. Carroll reportedly said that he “could kill [Richter] at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq.”
That investigation was then dropped because Richter feared for his life. The Federal Bureau of Investigation eventually picked up the investigation and connected the four men to the shootings.
Blackwater, which became Xe, which became Academi, was nothing more than overpaid former military gun nuts playing Army out in the desert. They had no oversight and acted with abandon. Their wild west attitude has caught up with the murderous men, and they will be serving a long time in prison for their deadly acts.