Trial begins in 2006 Jewish Federation shooting
When Naveed Haq set out on his murderous "mission" to make a point about Jews, he knew exactly what he was doing, a prosecutor told King County jurors this morning during opening statements in Haq's trial. On July 28, 2006, Haq walked into the Belltown o
Seattle Times staff reporter
When Naveed Haq set out on his murderous "mission" to make a point about Jews, he knew exactly what he was doing, a prosecutor told King County jurors this morning during opening statements in Haq's trial.
During her 45-minute statement, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erin Ehlert recreated the horror of July 28, 2006, when Haq walked into the Belltown offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and started shooting, leaving employee Pamela Waechter dead and seriously wounding five other women.
As Ehlert described how Haq forced his way into the locked building by holding a gun to the back of a 14-year-old girl, then walked through the building shooting at those in his path, Haq kept his head bent down low, never raising it up to look at the jury or the spectators who filled the Seattle courtroom.
Defense attorney John Carpenter, in his opening statement, did not dispute that Haq opened fire in the Jewish Federation offices. But he contends that Haq was insane at the time.
Haq, 32, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to one count of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder, and a slew of other charges, including malicious harassment — the state's hate-crime law. The trial is expected to last four weeks.
"Mr. Haq believed that what he was doing was actually going to reverse the course of two wars and have a positive societal effect," Carpenter said. "This is insanity."
Carpenter told the jury that when Haq traveled from the Tri-Cities to Seattle before the rampage he had become convinced that God had sanctioned the attack on the federation.
He showed the jury a timeline of Haq's mental illness symptoms beginning in 2003. Until 2005 Haq had been on the mood-stabilizing drug Lithium. Carpenter said Haq's problems began when his medications were switched by doctors. Carpenter said that was when Haq began displaying aggressive and paranoid behavior, including two road rage incidents, a bar fight, compulsive trips across the country and an arrest for lewd conduct.
During her opening statement, Ehlert played a recording of the 911 call made by federation employee Dayna Klein, who was pregnant.
"He's going to take more hostages," Klein told the operator after she had been shot by Haq, as she stood in her office with the gunman.
"I want these Jews to get out," the gunman told the operator after taking the phone from Klein.
"Your victim is hurt, she needs an ambulance," the operator told him.
"I don't care," the gunman said calmly.
"Do you know what could happen to you?" the operator asked.
The gunman said he didn't care. "I just want to make a point ... all these Jewish senators, all the media's being controlled by Jews. I'm sick and tired of it ... Patch me into CNN."
Haq began planning at least 10 days before the slayings, buying a Marine Corps knife, two handguns, a rifle and ammunition, and conducting Internet research to find a Jewish organization he could attack, Ehlert said.
"Naveed Haq was on a mission to make a statement that the Jewish people in our society have too much power," she told the jury of six women and six men.
During her opening, Ehlert laid the groundwork for an argument that Haq knew what he was doing. After talking to 911 and surrendering, she told the jury, Haq answered questions calmly, provided his name and other details to officers, and kept asking for media attention of his acts. He was never yelling, screaming or flapping, she stated. "He planned what he did," she said.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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