Jewish Federation shooter won't face death penalty
King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng said he decided not to pursue the death penalty for Naveed Haq in part because of Haq's history of mental illness.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Naveed Haq, the man accused of a shooting rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle that left one woman dead and five people injured, will not face the death penalty, it was announced today.
King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng said he decided not to pursue the death penalty for Haq in part because of Haq's history of mental illness. Maleng took several months to review a decade's worth of mental-health treatment records for Haq before announcing his decision this morning, he said in a statement.
"I view this crime as one of the most serious crimes that has ever occurred in this city," he said.
Haq is accused of forcing his way into the Belltown offices of the federation on the afternoon of July 28, wielding two guns and spewing anti-Semitic statements. Employee Pamela Waechter was killed, and five other women were injured.
He is charged with one count of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary and malicious harassment. The only possible punishments for aggravated first-degree murder are life in prison without the possibility of release or the death penalty. Now, Haq will face life in prison is he is convicted of the charges.
In making his announcement, Maleng said he is required by state law to consider "mitigating factors" when deciding whether to seek the death penalty. "Mental disease or defect" is one of those listed factors. Maleng said he still believes that under the law Haq will be held fully accountable for his alleged crimes.
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