Jurors in the Virginia trial of two military contractors …
Updated: Monday, 27 Sep 2010, 5:41 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 27 Sep 2010, 11:15 AM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (AP/WAVY) - A judge has declared the case against two former Blackwater guards a mistrial. After several days of deliberations, Monday morning the jury came up deadlocked and the jurors were dismissed. A new trial date has been set for March 1, 2011.
On Wednesday, attorneys will return to the court to try to get the men released from jail as they await trial.
Both Justin Cannon and Christopher Drotleff face up to life in prison if convicted of murder, assault and weapons charges in connection with the shooting.
"We are disappointed we did not get an acquittal, but we're looking forward to a chance to clear their names," said Larry Woodward who represents Drotleff. "It's very frustrating. I certainly understand how difficult the case is," said Cannon's attorney James Broccoletti.
The two former Blackwater contractors declined to testify at their federal murder trial in Norfolk Wednesday.
Cannon and Drotleff told investigators they feared for their safety when they opened fire on the unarmed Afghan civilians on May 5, 2009, in Kabul. The Virginian-Pilot reports that witnesses at their trial testified there was no threat that night.
Prosecutors allege that the men concocted the self-defense story to cover up that they were drinking alcohol that day and violated Blackwater policies, including taking vehicles and weapons without permission.
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