WATCH: Pardoned Blackwater guard returns home to kids in time for Christmas


MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee defense contractor pardoned by President Donald Trump on Monday is back home with his children.

Former Blackwater guard Dustin Heard is seen entering his children’s bedrooms and waking them up in a video shared with WATE 6 On Your Side by ex-wife Kelli Heard.

Dustin Heard, a military veteran from Maryville, had been serving a 30-year prison term for his role in a 2007 shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians and wounded 17 others. President Trump issued a pardon for Heard and 3 other veterans and ex-guards on Dec. 22.

Heard served in the United States Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom before becoming a private contractor.

The United Nations’ Human Rights office said Wednesday that it was “deeply concerned” by the pardons, which it said “contributes to impunity and has the effect of emboldening others to commit such crimes in the future.” The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said the pardons “did not take into account the seriousness of the crime committed,” and that it would urge the U.S. to reconsider.

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