A Tennessee native charged with murder in Iraq will face sentencing Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
That man, Nick Slatten is scheduled for sentencing separate from three of his teammates Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. at the District Courthouse, 333, Constitution NW at the Royce C. Lambert Courtroom, sixth floor.
“It is perceived that the prosecution arranged Nick’s separate sentencing to lessen the number of person’s present in the courtroom. Less visibility and therefore, less support and knowledge of what is happening to a decorated veteran,” according to Patty Zornow, in an emailed statement.
“Nick’s family has requested if anyone could possibly attend Nick’s sentencing so the room is filled, it would be greatly appreciated. Realizing that this is impossible for most people, they have asked if supporters of Nick could contact relatives or friends who reside in Washington and ask if they could attend on their behalf.”
According to Zornow, Slatten was born and raised in Sparta. He joined the Army after high school and served two tours of duty in Iraq as a soldier in the 82nd Airborne and graduate of Army Sniper School. After honorable discharge, he joined Blackwater Worldwide as a security contractor. He returned to Iraq to provide private diplomatic security with the Department of State.
“September 16, 2007 when he and his teammates were performing diplomatic security in Nisur Square, they came under fire. As a result of defending themselves, Nick was charged with murder after an initial investigation by the local Iraqi Chief of Police and a delayed three-week investigation by the FBI,” Zornow wrote.
“The Chief of Police had been in the area during the firefight and evidence had been destroyed. There was an agreement reached to present charges against the contractors to save face for the Iraqi government. So, as a result of this attack in Nisur Square four decorated veterans were wrongly convicted by a civilian jury after defending themselves in war torn Iraq.”
According to the website supportraven23.com, “those who know Nick know that he is not the monster the government intends to make him out to be through unsubstantiated gossip and an unsupported theory that Nick fired the first shots in Nisur Square for no reason other than animus and with no purpose other than to start a firefight.”
“Those who know Nick know that he would never take a life without just cause or put his team in harm’s way by firing without justification. They know him to be a stand-up guy who loves his God, his family, his friends, and his brothers in arms,” the website says.
“They know that, even as Nick sits imprisoned, awaiting a third trial for a crime he did not commit, he still says he wants to ‘help people.’ The people who know Nick Slatten know that he is not guilty, and they also know Nick will be true to his word and help people when his new jury hears the truth and acquits him.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Gavel-Judge” by U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid.