Ex-Blackwater guard sentenced to 37 months for Afghan’s death
WASHINGTON — A former Blackwater security guard was sentenced to three years and one month in prison Tuesday for involuntary manslaughter in a Kabul shooting in 2009, the US Justice Department announced.
Christopher Drotleff, 31, and Justin Cannon, 29, another former Blackwater employee, were convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter of Romal Mohammad Naiem, an unarmed Afghan civilian.
Cannon will be sentenced on June 27.
Both men fired several multiple shots at a passing car after the lead vehicle in their convoy crashed in the middle of the night and overturned on its side.
Naiem, the passenger in the car, was fatally shot, and his driver injured. Another Afghan man walking his dog in the area was also fatally shot, although both men were acquitted of charges in his death and the shooting of the driver.
Both Drotleff and Cannon said they had legitimate concerns for their safety, and had pleaded not guilty.
“Christopher Drotleff recklessly fired his nine millimeter pistol at unarmed Afghan civilians, killing two people and shattering the lives of many more,” said US Attorney Neil MacBride in a statement.
According to the statement, both Drotleff and Cannon left their military base on May 5, 2009 to transport local translators when the accident took place.
Blackwater was renamed Xe after it was caught up in several scandals in Iraq, in particular the deaths of between 14 and 17 civilians in Baghdad in September 2007.