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Originally published Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Haq's former psychiatrist testifies at murder trial

Before he forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and opened fire nearly two years ago, Naveed Haq contemplated suicide...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Before he forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and opened fire nearly two years ago, Naveed Haq contemplated suicide, struggled through classes at an Ivy League dental school and gulped cocktails of antidepressants, his former psychiatrist testified Monday.

Haq suffered a nervous breakdown, tried to leap out a window, considered shooting himself with a 12-gauge shotgun and overdosed on Lithium twice, Dr. Alexandra McLean told jurors in Haq's trial for the July 28, 2006, shootings. She said Haq was stressed about his courses at the University of Pennsylvania.

He was angry, anxious and distracted. His body shook with tremors, he couldn't sleep and was certain that he had telepathy, McLean said.

Two weeks after King County prosecutors began presenting their case against Haq, McLean took the stand Monday as the defense's first witness. She was called early because of a scheduling conflict, and additional prosecution witnesses were expected to testify today before the defense's case begins in earnest.

Haq has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to one count of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder and numerous other charges, including malicious harassment — the state's hate-crime law. If convicted of the murder charge, Haq faces life in prison without parole.

McLean, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, carefully thumbed through her clinical notes to describe 17 sessions with Haq between May 1998 and January 2000. McLean said he came to her during his second year of dental school after having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She diagnosed him as having schizoaffective disorder — a combination of mental illnesses — and prescribed a variety of medications.

McLean said Haq's moods varied by season and it was only when he was kicked out of dental school in 2000, with plans to move back to Washington state, that he was finally happy. She said he blamed his parents for pressuring him into school.

McLean told the jury that during her 20 months of meeting with Haq he never said anything disparaging about other races and religions.

Haq is on trial for gunning down six employees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, killing one woman. Haq, 32, who is of Pakistani descent, is accused of making anti-Semitic statements before and during the violence.

Defense attorney John Carpenter said during his April 14 opening statement that when Haq traveled from the Tri-Cities to Seattle on the morning of the shootings Haq was convinced that God had sanctioned the attack.

Over the past two weeks, prosecutors have painted Haq as being calm and prepared — having premeditated the rampage 10 days beforehand.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294

or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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