Blackwater Guards Convicted after Seven Years

Posted on November 11, 2014 by

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Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards were convicted and jailed on Wednesday for their role in the 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in Iraq. A jury in Federal District Court found that the deaths of seventeen Iraqis in the shooting, which began as the guards began firing in a crowded intersection, were a result of criminal intent.

The convictions of murder, manslaughter, and weapon charges were a legal Diplomatic victory. This urged Iraqis to put their faith back into the American Court System. Faith was definitely tested during the seven long years as the investigation continued.

Nicholas Slatten, a sniper who fired the first shots, was convicted of the murder. Slatten is from Sparta, Tennessee. The others involved were Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, and Paul Slough.  They were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a machine gun with criminal intent.

Dustin Heard is from Maryville, Tennessee. Evan Liberty is from Rochester, New Hampshire, and Paul Slough is from Keller, Texas.

Despite skepticism about the trial, more than two dozen Iraqi witnesses agreed to travel to Washington to testify. They described the scene of terror and confusion as they fled for safety from the firing guns. One father sobbed uncontrollably as he testified about the murder of his nine-year-old son.

Nine eleven-year-olds were shot and killed in this incident. The shooting began shortly after four American armored trucks drove into Nisour Square on 16 September 2007. The Blackwater contractors said insurgents ambushed them. Their lawyers described the death of innocent civilians as a tragic and unavoidable consequence of warfare.

When asked about this specific topic and questioned on it, students were shocked. Most did not even know that this sad situation had even occurred.

“People are sick! I cannot believe this is going on in the world we live in. Shooting is not cool,” junior Olivia Fenstermacher said.

“These men were supposed to protect us, and they just committed this unthinkable crime? Plus, they didn’t get convicted for seven years? Wow!” sophomore Logan Carbaugh said.

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