Mistrial declared in retrial of ex-Blackwater security guard accused of massacring Iraqi civilians

Former Blackwater security guard Nicholas Slatten pictured in 2014 after the start of his first trial; A mistrial was declared in his retrial Wednesday

A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the retrial of a former Blackwater security guard convicted of murder in 2014 for his role in a mass shooting of unarmed Iraqi civilians that touched off an international firestorm.

Nicholas Slatten, 34, of Sparta, Tenn., went on trial for a second time in June, accused of instigating the killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 17 others, including women and children in 2007 near Baghdad’s Nisour Square.

The latest decision was a setback for the Justice Department, which had long sought to hold Slatten and three other employees of the military contracting firm accountable for the incident.

Slatten, a former Army sniper, allegedly fired the initial shots, spurring a fusillade of machine gun and grenade fire. The Justice Department first charged him in 2008.

Slatten’s original sentence of life in prison for first-degree murder was overturned in 2017 by the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit after they ruled a lower court had erred by not allowing him to be tried separately from his three co-defendants in 2014.

But jurors in the subsequent retrial were deadlocked on the 16th day of deliberations. Jurors had indicated in a note to the judge last week that it had reached an impasse, the Washington Post reported. They had been sent home for the weekend and asked to return to court Tuesday.

This story is developing. Check back for updates

Chris Irvine is Senior News Editor at Fox News. His Twitter can be found @chrisirvine86

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