A federal jury in the US District Court for the District of Columbia returned a guilty verdict on Oct. 21 for four ex-security guards for Blackwater, now Academi, who shot and killed 14 Iraqis and wounded 17 in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad. Nicholas Slatten was found guilty of first-degree murder, and three others were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun violations: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard. The men were serving as private contractors, hired to protect members of the US Department of State, when they fired into a group of people in a crowded intersection in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Counsel for the men claimed self-defense and argued the men were fired on by insurgents and Iraqi police before opening fire themselves. The federal prosecution argued the men showed a grave indifference to the consequence of their actions and the shooting was not provoked. More than a dozen Iraqis were scheduled to offer testimony in the 11-week trial, which was dismissed by the DC District Court in 2010. The trial has raised a number of legal issues, including federal jurisdiction over contractors working for the State Department. The ruling is expected to face a number of appeals.
From Jurist, Oct. 23. Used with permission.