From [HERE] and [HERE] Tried three times in connection to a 2007 Iraq shooting where 14 civilians were killed, former Blackwater security guard Nicholas Slatten [bald racist suspect in photo] was convicted by a federal jury on Wednesday of first-degree murder.
Blackwater USA, a now-notorious private security contractor, was hired by the U.S. State Department to protect diplomats during the Iraq War. In September 2007, Blackwater guards opened fire on Baghdad's Nisour Square, killing and injuring unarmed civilians.
Slatten was convicted of killing Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y, 19, an aspiring doctor who was one of more than a dozen civilians killed by Blackwater guards in Baghdad’s Nisour square on 16 September 2007.
While escorting a diplomatic convoy, Blackwater guards opened fire in the bustling square with sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers – allegedly without provocation – leaving at least 14 civilians dead and at least 18 wounded. The Iraqi government says the toll was higher.
Blackwater guards shot Iraqis without provocation, report says
The shooting deepened the resentment of Americans in Iraq four years after US forces toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and raised questions about the expanded use of armed contract guards by the US government.
Prosecutors presented 34 witnesses against Slatten, including four who traveled to the United States from Iraq specifically to testify.
The evidence showed that 10 men, two women and two boys, ages 9 and 11, were killed when Slatten and his fellow guards opened fire in the busy Baghdad traffic circle on Sept. 16, 2007.
According to the government’s evidence, Slatten, of Sparta, Tennessee, was the first to open fire.
In Nisour Square, on Sept. 16, 2007, Slatten was one of 19 Blackwater security contractors in a convoy of four heavily armed trucks using the call sign Raven 23. But after a car bombing earlier in the day, the team disregarded an order to stay in the Green Zone and set up a blockade in the square, prosecutors said.
A white Kia, driven by Al Rubia’y with his mother in the passenger seat, headed toward the blockade. Prosecutors alleged Slatten, of Sparta, Tenn., fired the first shots into the Kia and intentionally set off a rampage in which more than 30 people were shot, 14 fatally.
The Blackwater guards claimed that they feared the Kia might be used as a car bomb and that after they began firing on the Kia, the guards took small-arms fire from other sources which disabled one of the Blackwater trucks. The guards then fired into a bus and other vehicles, compounding the carnage.
“There had been a lookout for a white Kia,” the jury foreperson told The Post. “But there’s a million Kias in Iraq, you don’t just shoot every white Kia.”
The foreperson said the jury “didn’t believe the white Kia presented or could be perceived as a threat. And we didn’t perceive that the convoy was taking small-arms fire.” The foreperson said the jury believed shrapnel from grenades launched by the Blackwater guards damaged their own vehicle. [MORE]
No date was set for his sentencing. The US attorney’s office said the murder charge calls for a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
It was Slatten’s third trial on the charges. His first conviction was thrown out and the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict at his second trial.
Slatten was one of four Blackwater guards who were found guilty in 2014. He was originally sentenced to life in prison while the three others were given 30-year prison sentences
An appeals court has ordered that the three other Blackwater guards be resentenced. They are currently in custody pending resentencing.
Slatten was originally tried and convicted in 2014 alongside fellow Blackwater guards Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty. The D.C. Circuit ordered a retrial for Slatten last year, however, and the Tennessee native’s second trial ended in a hung jury this fall.
The Justice Department touted Slatten’s conviction this afternoon, saying the jury reached its verdict after five days of deliberations in a trial that began on Nov. 5, 2018.