U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth expressed avuncular fondness for the Blackwater guards who murdered 14 unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007, saying they "overall appear to be good young men." But that didn't stop Lamberth from giving Nicholas Slatten a life sentence, and his three co-workers 30-year prison terms.
Before sentencing, Lamberth heard from an Iraqi wounded by the Blackwater guards and from the family of 9-year-old Ali Razzaq, who was killed in the Sept. 16, 2007, incident.
Mohammed Kinani, the boy's father, said the trial was a test of whether Blackwater was above the law.
"Today, we will see who wins, the law or Blackwater," Kinani, who said he was in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, told the judge. "A lot of American soldiers die because of what Blackwater did."
Kinani's wife, Fatimah, stood before Lamberth with a picture of her slain son. Turning to the defendants, she sobbed, saying through an interpreter, "Why did you guys do this to me?"
Lawyers for the "good young men" said they will appeal.