Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Three former Blackwater Worldwide security guards have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a massacre in Iraq 12 years ago that resulted in the deaths of 14 unarmed Iraqis, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Paul Alvin Slough, 39, was sentenced to 15 years; Evan Shaw Liberty, 36, to 13 years and Dustin Laurent Heard, 37, to 12 and a half years. They were found guilty in 2014 but appealed their cases. The Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., remanded the case for re-sentencing.
Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the Sept. 5 sentencing holds the U.S. armed forces accountable for the massacre on Sept. 16, 2007 in Baghdad. The incident, which injured 17 Iraqis, hindered the U.S. reputation in Iraq.
"The defendants' orders were for self-defense, and they were firing wildly into cars," Lamberth said. "[Some of the victims were] turning around in the other direction. There was just wild shooting that could never be condoned by any court."
Blackwater Worldwide security guard Nick Slatten was convicted last year of firing the first shot. He's been tried three times on first-degree murder charges, but insisted he acted out of self-defense concerns.
The case was investigated by the FBI's Violent Crime Squad and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office.