The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel has thrown out the first-degree murder conviction of former Blackwater Worldwide security guard Nicholas A. Slatten, and ordered re-sentencings for three others, The Washington Post reports.
- The four were sentencing in 2015 for the 2007 killings of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
- The court ruled that the trial court "abused its discretion" in not allowing Slatten to be tried separately from three co-defendants since he alone faced a murder charge. The court has ordered a new trial, per the NYT.
- The court has also ordered re-sentencing for Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, ruling their 30-year terms violated constitutional safeguards against "cruel and unusual punishment."
Catch up on the case: Prosecutors said the security guards falsely claimed their convoy was threatened by a car bomber, which led them to fire machine guns and grenade launchers in a reckless way. The guards said they were acting in self-defense. No witness testified that they saw the guards threatened by firings.