On Monday, a federal judge sentenced four Blackwater contractors for their roles in the Nisour Square massacre, giving one man life in prison and three others 30 years each, The New York Times reports.

In October, the men were found guilty of killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in Baghdad's Nisour Square in 2007. A fifth Blackwater guard, who testified against the others, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter but has not yet been sentenced.

"The verdict is wrong," Nicholas Slatten, the contractor convicted of firing the shot that initiated the firestorm, told the court yesterday. “You know I am innocent, sir.”

This weekend, The New York Times published internal emails that seemed to explain why it took so long for the men to be prosecuted. In them, officials expressed concerns that the Bush administration Justice Department was reluctant to charge Blackwater contractors. "It's hard for me to say we should wait for the Democrats," wrote one State Department investigator, "but this is one such time I have to."

[Image via AP Images]