Alex Constantine - April 22, 2013
NORFOLK - Two former Blackwater contractors have been ordered to federal prison after exhausting their appeals in the 2009 shooting death of a civilian in Afghanistan.
Christopher Drotleff of Virginia Beach and Justin Cannon of Corpus Christi, Texas, were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the incident, in which two Afghans were killed and a third injured. Drotleff was sentenced to 37 months and Cannon 30 months.
The two have been free on bond since the 2011 trials. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied their appeals in November, and on April 1 the Supreme Court declined to review the case. In an order Monday, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar directed Drotleff and Cannon to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service by May 22.
The two were working for a Blackwater subsidiary, providing weapons training for the Afghan army under a Defense Department subcontract, when their two-vehicle convoy became involved in a traffic accident in Kabul after working hours on May 5, 2009. The pair fired more than 30 rounds of ammunition into the rear of a vehicle as it retreated from the scene, according to testimony. Their attorneys said they were acting in self-defense.
Blackwater, a security company with a training complex in Moyock, N.C., was sold in 2010 and is now known as Academi.