A jury in Washington found four former Blackwater security guards guilty in a high-profile 2007 shooting of civilians in Baghdad.


One guard, Nicholas Slatten, was convicted of murder, and the three others, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, were convicted of manslaughter.  

The Blackwater guards shot dozens of Iraqi civilians in a square in Baghdad in 2007. The Washington Post reports that the defense argued the guards were acting in self-defense, thinking that a car bomber was approaching. 

The lengthy case was a point of contention in relations with Iraq. In 2009, a U.S. judge threw out the charges on the grounds that evidence was improperly obtained. During a 2010 trip to Iraq, Vice President Biden expressed "personal regret" for the shooting and said the U.S. would appeal the dismissal. 

An appeals court reinstated the charges, leading eventually to Wednesday's guilty verdict. 

The Post reports that 30 Iraqis testified, the most foreign witnesses to testify in a U.S. criminal trial, prosecutors said.

The shooting was also a blow to the reputation of Blackwater, which has since changed its name twice, to Xe Services and then Academi.