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Ex-Blackwater entrepreneur was sentenced to life for 2007 Iraq shooting which killed 14

A former Blackwater security contractor was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for participating in a mass shooting at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007 that killed 14 unarmed civilians.

A federal jury convicted 35-year-old Nicholas Slatten, of Sparta, Tenn., Of first-degree murder in December. Prosecutors said Slatten was the first of a group of four contractors to open fire in a shooting that killed 10 men, two women and two boys, ages 9 and 11.

Defense attorneys falsely believed that Slatten mistakenly believed a potential suicide bomber was on heading for his convoy. Friends and relatives of Slatten appealed to U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth for a lenient sentence, to no avail.


Slatten & # 39; s father, Darr spoke directly to his son, who was wearing a beige prison suit, saying: " Nick, apologize for what your country has done to you. We will fight until hell freezes to correct this justice. " [1

9659003] Slatten's followers believed that he was a government scapegoat aimed at calming tensions between the United States and Iraq over the heavy use of private military entrepreneurs in the Middle East country. Slatten himself told the court that he was a victim of an "unfair prosecution" and that government lawyers placed a higher premium to secure a conviction than to reveal the truth of what happened in Baghdad 12 years ago.

"This is a miscarriage of justice and it will not stand," he said.

Lamberth disagreed, saying: "The jury got it exactly right. This was murder."

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP [19659003] In 2014, a jury sentenced Slatten and the three other contractors – Paul Alvin Slough , Evan Shawn Liberty and Dustin Laurent Heard – who were part of a four-vehicle convoy that protected the Department of Foreign Affairs personnel with firearms. The original conviction was reversed on appeal, with a ruling by the appellate court Slatten should have been tried separately from the other three men.

Slatten was tried again last summer, but a trial was declared after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. His second attempt ended in the December conviction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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