Ex-guards to get lengthy prison sentences for Iraq shootings - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ex-guards to get lengthy prison sentences for Iraq shootings

Posted:

WASHINGTON (AP)- A federal judge says he won't deviate from the lengthy mandatory minimum sentences faced by four former Blackwater security guards for their role in a 2007 shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than a dozen others.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on Monday rejected a defense motion to impose lesser sentences on the four, as well as a motion by prosecutors to increase the penalties.

That means that former guard Nicholas Slatten appears likely to be sentenced to life in prison for his first-degree murder conviction, and that three others - Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard - appear headed for 30-year terms for multiple counts of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and using firearms while committing a felony.

Lamberth deferred formally imposing the sentences while hearing arguments from both sides on the sentencing. Defense lawyers argued for mercy but prosecutors said the men have never shown remorse or accepted responsibility.

All four were convicted in October for their involvement in the killings that caused an international uproar in Nisoor Square, a crowded traffic circle in downtown Baghdad. The legal fight over the killings has spanned years.

Prosecutors have described the shooting as an unprovoked ambush of civilians, though defense lawyers countered that the men were targeted with gunfire and Iraqi police, and shot back in self-defense.

The defense argued for mercy Monday by saying that decades-long sentences would be unconstitutionally harsh punishments for men who operated in a stressful, war-torn environment, and who have proud military careers and close family ties.

The firearms convictions alone carry mandatory minimum sentences of 30 years in prison. The government sought sentences far beyond that, partly because it said the men have never shown remorse or accepted responsibility.

The sentencing is unlikely to bring an end to the legal wrangling, which began even before the guards were first charged in 2008. A judge later dismissed the case before trial, but a federal appeals court revived it and the guards were indicted again in October 2013.

Even before the trial began, defense lawyers had identified multiple issues as likely forming the basis of an appeal, including whether there was proper legal jurisdiction to charge them in the first place.

The statute under which they were charged, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, covers the overseas crimes of Defense Department civilian employees, military contractors and others who are supporting the American war mission. But defense lawyers note that the Blackwater defendants worked as State Department contractors and were in Iraq to provide diplomatic, not military, services.

The legal fighting continued in the days leading up to sentencing, too, with defense lawyers seeking Friday to postpone the hearing after receiving new information - a victim impact statement from a trial witness - that they said was favorable to the defense. But Lamberth denied the request, saying there was no need to delay the sentencing.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Under Fire

    10/17/2017 17:44:00 -04:002017-10-17 21:44:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 6:30 PM EDT2017-10-17 22:30:06 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    16 Inmates Charged With First-degree Murder in Del. Prison Uprising

    10/17/2017 10:14:00 -04:002017-10-17 14:14:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 2:25 PM EDT2017-10-17 18:25:59 GMT
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.More
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident.More
  • Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    10/17/2017 15:28:00 -04:002017-10-17 19:28:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 3:50 PM EDT2017-10-17 19:50:18 GMT
    A Seaford man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges.More
    A Seaford, Del. man has been arrested on 449 charges, including felony animal cruelty, according to the state's Office of Animal Welfare.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More
  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More
  • As Neglected Animals Recover, the Owner's Family Speaks Out

    As Neglected Animals Recover, the Owner's Family Speaks Out

    The 31 dogs rescued from a home in Seaford are on the mend, officials say.

    "After our team worked to shave them down, we saw what we expected: that they were severely emaciated," says Brandywine Valley SPCA Georgetown Campus Director Walter Fenstermacher. "But what we didn't expect was how warm their personalities were and how forthcoming they were and wanted to be pet and loved by our staff members."

    More

    The 31 dogs rescued from a home in Seaford are on the mend, officials say.

    "After our team worked to shave them down, we saw what we expected: that they were severely emaciated," says Brandywine Valley SPCA Georgetown Campus Director Walter Fenstermacher. "But what we didn't expect was how warm their personalities were and how forthcoming they were and wanted to be pet and loved by our staff members."

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices