A federal appeals court in the United States has overturned lengthy prison sentences for three former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries and ordered a new trial for a fourth involved in the 2007 killings of more than a dozen of unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children.
The Blackwater employees had been charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades at a busy Baghdad intersection on September 16, 2007. An FBI agent once described the atrocity as the “My Lai massacre of Iraq.”
Three mercenaries Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough were convicted in 2014 of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter and using a machine gun – a military weapon — to carry out an atrocity.
They were sentenced to 30 years in prison. They received the enhanced penalty because they were also convicted of using military firearms while committing a felony.
A fourth mercenary, Nicholas A….