Jewishupdates's Blog

January 14, 2010

Seattle Jewish Federation Shooter Apologizes, Receives Life Sentence

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 7:01 pm

Seattle Jewish Federation Shooter Apologizes, Receives Life Sentence

Naveed Haq was sentenced to life in prison this morning for barging into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle 3.5 years ago, killing one woman and wounding five others amid an anti-Israel tirade.

Addressing the court for the first time, Haq blamed the shootings on mental illness and lack of treatment.

“I understand you are angry,” said Haq, 34. “The tragedy wouldn’t have occurred if it wasn’t for bad medical care and mental illness.”

Haq apologized for the attack “from the depth of my being.”

“I am not a man filled with hate,” he said. “That Naveed Haq at the Federation that July day was not the real Naveed Haq.”

The sentencing was a formality since Haq’s conviction last month for aggravated murder in Pamela Waechter’s death carried an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole. The King County jury also found Haq, guilty of malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute, five counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of unlawful imprisonment.

During the trial, witnesses testified that Haq, who is of Pakistani heritage, railed against Jews and U.S.-Israeli policies as he opened fire in the Jewish Federation, an umbrella organization for the local Jewish community that raises money for social-welfare organizations, runs youth and adult educational programs, and engages in efforts in support of Israel.

The trial was Haq’s second for the shooting.

In June 2008, his first trial resulted in a mistrial when jurors were deadlocked on all but one of the 15 counts after nearly two weeks of deliberations. Prosecutors immediately announced they would retry Haq, but changed their strategy by reducing the charges to eight.

During both of his trials, Haq’s defense team sought to have him sent to a state mental hospital rather than prison. Prosecutors agreed that Haq is mentally ill, but contended that he was sane when he entered the federation and opened fire.

(Source: Seattle Times)


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