Blackwater Guards Charged With Manslaughter

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2008 12:18 PM CST
Blackwater Worldwide security guard Evan Liberty today in Utah.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Five former Blackwater guards involved in a 2007 shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead turned themselves in today and were charged with voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, and using firearms in the commission of a crime, CNN reports. The men, all in their 20s, were arraigned in Salt Lake City and face hundreds of years in potential sentences on the charges in the 35-count federal indictments.

Defense attorneys are expected to challenge the Justice Department's jurisdiction—at issue because Blackwater was working for the State Department, not the military—and to push for a change of venue from Washington. An FBI investigation determined that the shootings were unprovoked, and the Iraqi government ruled the killings "premeditated murder."