Jurors who have been deliberating the murder and manslaughter charges against four former Blackwater private security guards recently asked the judge in the case a question about the charges.  Media analysts believe that it indicates they are discussing a conviction on lesser charges.

The trial is the result of a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, Iraq’s Nisour Square, where Blackwater security contractors working for the U.S. State Department fired into a crowded intersection killing several unarmed civilians.  The guards claim they were ambushed by insurgents and that civilian deaths are a tragic part of urban war.

The defendants are Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty, and Paul A. Slough, who all face manslaughter and a firearm charge.  Nicholas A. Slatten is charged with murder.  A fifth defendant, Jeremy Ridgeway previously pled guilty to manslaughter.

Jurors asked whether the firearm charge applies if defendants are convicted of involuntary manslaughter.  Involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 8 years.  Jurors have been deliberating since September 2nd.


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