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A former Blackwater security contractor, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for taking part in a mass shooting at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007 that killed 14 unarmed civilians.
A federal jury has convicted a 35-year-old Nicholas Slatten of Sparta, Tenn., the first-degree murder in the Dec. Prosecutors said Slatten, was the first of a group of four of the contractors open fire in the shooting rampage that killed 10 men and two women, and two boys, between the ages of 9 and 11.
Attorneys for the defense contended that Slatten, erroneously, assumed to be a potential suicide car bomber was moving in the direction of his enemy. Relatives and friends of the Slatten pleaded with U.s. District Judge Royce Lamberth to a mild penalty, to no avail.
EX-BLACKWATER CONTRACTOR GETS MURDER CONVICTION TOSSED OUT BY A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT
Slatten’s father, Darrell, spoke directly to his son, who was dressed in a beige prison jumpsuit, saying, “Nick, please accept my apology for what your country has done for you. We will fight until hell freezes over in order to correct this travesty of justice.”
Slatten on the team thought that he was a government patsy, aimed at soothing tensions between the united states and in Iraq about the heavy use of private military contractors in the Middle Eastern country. Slatten himself, told the court that he was the victim of an “unjust persecution” as well as the government advocates a higher premium on securing a conviction, than it is to expose the truth of what is going on in Iraq 12 years ago.
“This is a miscarriage of justice and won’t stand for it,” he said.
Lamberth disagreed, saying that The jury got it exactly right. It was a murder.”
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At the end of 2014, a jury convicted, Slatten and the other three contractors to Paul Alvin Slough, Evan Shawn Liberty, and Dustin Laurent Heard, which is part of a four-vehicle convoy that was protecting State Department personnel at the time of the shooting. The original conviction was quashed on appeal, a court of appeal ruling, Slatten should have been tried separately from the other three.
Slatten was tried last summer, but a mistrial was declared after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. His second trial ended in December, conviction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.