(NEW YORK) — Four former guards of a U.S. security company hired to protect diplomats were found guilty Wednesday in the September 2007 shooting deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 17 others.
The men, who were on trial for a second time after their case was dismissed in 2009, claimed their convoy came under attack in Baghdad and were returning fire.
However, federal prosecutors successfully argued that the former Blackwater guards were the aggressors in the incident and showed “grave indifference” to bystanders who were killed or injured by their actions.
A jury convicted Nicholas Slatten of first-degree murder, punishable by a maximum of life in prison. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were found guilty of lesser charges, including multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.
Following the verdicts, all the defendants were ordered jailed while their lawyers said they would appeal.
Meanwhile, even after deliberating for a month, the jury still has to decide on the remaining counts in the case.
Blackwater has since been renamed Academia and bills itself as a private military company.
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