A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has sentenced a former Blackwater security contractor to life in prison for his role in the 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq.
Judge Royce Lamberth issued the sentence Wednesday in District Court after friends and relatives requested leniency for Nicholas Slatten. In December, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors charged that Slatten was the first to fire shots in the September 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad. In all, 10 men, two women and two boys, ages 9 and 11, were killed.
The defence had argued Slatten and other Blackwater contractors opened fire only after they saw what they mistakenly thought was a potential suicide car bomber moving quickly toward their convoy.
Slatten received a life sentence from the same judge in 2015, but saw his conviction tossed two years later. An Appeals Court ruled he should have been tried separately instead of alongside his former Blackwater colleagues.
Blackwater was formed in 1997 by former U.S. Navy SEAL Erik Prince, the brother of Betsy DeVos, the current U.S. secretary of education.