NORFOLK, Va. (AP/WAVY) - The goverment may rest its case against the two former Blackwater contractors charged with killing two Afghan nationals, according to a federal attorney. The Defense is expected to have quite a bit of evidence it wishes to introduce, and attorneys are guessing the case will conclude late this week. or early next week.
Prosecutors said two former defense contractors were fueled by alcohol and anger the night they killed two Afghan nationals on the streets of Kabul.
On Thursday, Day three of the trial, jurors got to see the vehicle involved in the deadly accident. Opening statements told very different stories about why the two former guards opened fire that day. The prosecution told jurors that Justin Cannon and Christopher Drotleff were "drinking, driving, armed and out of control" when they fired at an unarmed afghan vehicle.
The Defense countered saying the two fired in self defense after an Afghan vehicle came barreling toward them on May 5, 2009.
Cannon, of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Drotleff, of Virginia Beach, face murder, assault and weapons charges. Their trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
A Government witness testified Drotleff and Cannon were drinking heavily that day and night. But, on cross examination that same witness admitted writing in his statement, "I can not say who was drinking and who was not."
Tuesday, it took more than ten hours to narrow down the jury pool from more than 200 potential jurors to 12. The jury is comprised of nine women and three men.
The former Blackwater Worldwide contractors were in the country to train the Afghan National Army.
Drotleff and Cannon face up to life in prison if convicted.
North Carolina-based Blackwater is now known as Xe Services.
"I've been trying to keep it together, but at times pushing back the tears, it's just been really tough," said Christopher Drotleff's wife, Gina.
"What he was doing was training Afghan soldiers how to fire weapons. [A risky job?] Yeah a risky job, but something he was willing to do," said Chuck Cannon, Justin Cannon's father.
A jury will now decide whether or not the men acted in self defense.
"I'm ready for my husband to come home, for my kids, their daddy to come home. In the end he's going to be exonerated," said Gina Drotleff.
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