A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former Blackwater security guard accused of inciting a firefight that killed 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.
The jury remained deadlocked in the trial of Nicholas Slatten, who was charged with first-degree murder for allegedly firing the first shots.
The case was a retrial, after a court ruled Slatten should not have been tried alongside three other guards.
Neither Slatten nor prosecutors have commented on Wednesday’s ruling.
US District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington DC declared a mistrial after the jury of seven men and five women could not reach a unanimous verdict.
The jury had deliberated for 16 days, even asking Judge Lamberth last week to advise them, the Washington Post reported. The judge gave them until Tuesday to make a decision.
Prosecutors charged Slatten, who was a former Army sniper, with murder as his case had passed the time limit for manslaughter charges.
First-degree murder charges, however, have a higher burden of proof.
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During the retrial, prosecutors alleged Slatten, 34, fired first, sparking the violence that left 14 dead.
They accused Slatten of hating Iraqis and starting the firefight as an act of revenge for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, USA Today reported.
The defence retaliated by saying Slatten was innocent, especially as another Blackwater guard – Paul Slough – had initially confessed to firing the first shots.