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Mistrial Declared for Former Blackwater Sniper

Nicholas Slatten was accused of massacring Iraqi civilians
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2018 4:03 AM CDT
2nd Murder Trial of Blackwater Sniper Ends in Mistrial
In this June 11, 2014 photo, former Blackwater Worldwide guard Nicholas Slatten leaves federal court in Washington.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(Newser) – The second trial of a former Blackwater sniper accused of firing the first shots in what prosecutors described as an unprovoked massacre of Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad intersection ended in a mistrial Wednesday. US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth declared a mistrial in the Nicholas Slatten case after the jury said it was still deadlocked on the 16th day of deliberations, the Washington Post reports. Slatten and three others were convicted of murder in 2014 for the 2007 shooting, which killed 14 civilians and wounded more than 15 others, but the conviction was overturned on appeal last year.

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Slatten, who had been serving a mandatory life sentence, will remain detained until Sept. 14 at the earliest, when federal prosecutors will say whether they plan to put him on trial again. Three other Blackwater guards found guilty of manslaughter and given 30-year sentences will be resentenced later this month. The same appeals panel that overturned Slatten's conviction found that their sentences were "cruel and unusual" because they involved a section of law never previously applied to contractors working overseas for the US military. CNN reports that Blackwater founder Erik Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been trying to get the Trump administration to adopt a plan to replace many US troops in Afghanistan with private contractors. (Read more Blackwater stories.)

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