Muslim Wire

His brain failed him,’ lawyer says in Jewish center shooting trial

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 22, 2009

SEATTLE – Naveed Haq’s second trial opened Wednesday with two strikingly different interpretations of his actions before and after the deadly shooting rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

While a King County, Wash., prosecutor used recordings of Haq’s jail phone calls to portray him as a cold and calculating killer who relished in his ”celebrity” status after the attacks, Haq’s attorney said the recordings only show how delusional his client was after the July 2006 attack.

In the calls made after his arrest, Haq told his mother that he ”did the right thing” by going on a shooting rampage at the center’s offices, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Don Raz said in his opening statement. Haq also told his mother that slain federation employee Pamela Waechter was an ”Israeli collaborator.”

The jail phone were not admitted in Haq’s first trial, but are expected to figure prominently in his second trial.

Raz said Haq’s actions leading up to the shooting prove that he clearly understood what he was doing. Haq visited several gun stores and wrote two complicated documents criticizing Israeli and U.S. policies in the Middle East. Haq even used MapQuest to find out how to reach the federation offices from his home, Raz said.

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–>Defense attorney John Carpenter told jurors during his opening statement that Haq is mentally ill, and only now, with the right medications, is he able to live without fits of rage, hallucinations and delusions. Haq’s defense team has never denied his responsibility, and are asking jurors to find him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Carpenter said Haq’s illness was so severe he actually believed he could change the course of wars by attacking the Jewish Federation.

”Ultimately his brain failed him, and Pam Waechter is dead as a result,” Carpenter said. ”There’s no justification ultimately for what Mr. Haq did.”

Raz agreed that Haq is mentally ill, but said his ”mental illness did not cause him to attack the Jewish Federation; his anger did.”

This is the second time Haq has faced a King County jury for the July 28, 2006, shootings that left Waechter dead and five other federation employees wounded. His first trial ended in a mistrial last year after jurors said they were deadlocked on all but one of the 15 criminal counts he was facing.

Prosecutors have reduced the charges against Haq in hopes of making deliberations less cumbersome for jurors.

Haq, 34, is being tried on eight counts – one count of aggravated first-degree murder; five counts of attempted first-degree murder; one count of unlawful imprisonment; and one count of malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime law.

Haq is accused of forcing his way into the offices of the federation and randomly shooting employees he encountered. Waechter, the federation’s 58-year-old campaign director, was killed, and employees Cheryl Stumbo, Carol Goldman, Dayna Klein, Christina Rexroad and Layla Bush were wounded.

Haq surrendered after talking with a 911 dispatcher who said that she couldn’t fulfill his demand that she patch his phone call into the CNN newsroom.

On the 911 tape, which Carpenter played for jurors Wednesday, Haq said that he was tired of the world ignoring the Muslim point of view.

”I don’t care if I die. This is just to make a point,” Haq said to the dispatcher.

Carpenter also played a grainy 20-second surveillance video that showed an armed Haq entering the federation offices behind the adolescent niece of one of the victims. The video then showed Haq chasing after Waechter.

http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Section=NATIONAL&ID=565671266444771362

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