Three former Blackwater guards resentenced in deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting

Three former Blackwater guards resentenced in deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting

A federal judge re-sentenced three ex-Blackwater contractors for their roles in the 2007 killings of unarmed Iraqi civilians after they were given 30-year sentences in 2015.

In a ruling announced Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Evan Liberty to 14 years in prison, Paul Slough to 15 years and Dustin Heard to just under 13 years.

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The men have blamed the chaotic nature of a war zone for the shootings. Seventeen Iraqis were killed in the incident, at least 14 of which the FBI determined were without cause.  

The three men’s original sentences, which were mandatory under laws governing sentencing for use of a firearm in commission of a felony, were overturned on appeal in 2017, with a panel ruling the rule was not intended for application to military contractors, according to The Associated Press.

A fourth defendant, Nicholas Slatten, was re-sentenced to life last month.

“The defendants' orders were for self-defense, and they were firing wildly into cars. [Some of the victims were] turning around in the other direction. There was just wild shooting that could never be condoned by any court,” Lamberth said at a hearing on Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C.

“[The] government found and exposed and delivered to the world a trial where the truth of what happened in Nisur Square came out and was there for the world and the public to see, and I think the government of the United States deserves great credit for how the truth came out in this case and in this trial,” he added.