King County jury to begin deliberating case of Naveed Haq
After more than five weeks of often emotional testimony, a King County jury this morning is expected to begin deliberating the fate of Naveed...
Seattle Times staff reporter
After more than five weeks of often emotional testimony, a King County jury this morning is expected to begin deliberating the fate of Naveed Haq, accused of the July 2006 shootings at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.
Haq's nearly six-week-long trial concluded Thursday afternoon after attorneys on both sides delivered closing arguments.
Starting today, the 12 jurors will attempt to come to a unanimous conclusion as to Haq's mental state — and therefore his guilt or innocence — when he barged into the federation's Belltown offices on July 28, 2006, and shot six employees, killing one.
They'll have to sort through two very different pictures of Haq painted during the trial: one, by prosecutors, of a frustrated, chronically unemployed and awkward man who decided that "suicide by cop" was the answer the morning he drove from the Tri-Cities area toward the federation with three guns in his pickup and anti-Semitic thoughts playing through his mind.
Or the other, outlined by Haq's defense team, of a man who suffered through an abusive childhood and increasingly paranoid teenage and college years, loathed his short stature and Muslim heritage and whose body and mind were reeling from a dangerous regimen of prescription medications when he entered a manic state and heard God telling him to go on a mission.
Haq, 32, is charged with one count of aggravated first-degree murder for slaying employee Pamela Waechter; five counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting five other women; one count of first-degree kidnapping; one count of unlawful imprisonment; one count of first-degree burglary; and six counts of violating the state's hate-crime law. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if found guilty of the murder charge.
Haq has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and if the jury deems him insane, he will be committed to a state mental hospital indefinitely.
On Thursday, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Don Raz led jurors back through the events inside the federation offices to illustrate why he believes Haq, who sought out Jewish organizations on the Internet before the shootings, according to testimony, knew what he was doing and had planned his acts ahead of time.
"He bought guns. He bought bullets. He Googled his destination. On the way, he stopped, took the guns out, test fired and proceeded on," Raz said during his closing argument.
After bursting into the office and threatening the women, Haq became alarmed when victim Cheryl Stumbo shouted to victim Carol Goldman to call 911 — anticipating problems for himself if help were called, Raz said. So he shot Goldman.
He chased victim Christina Rexroad through the building, shot Layla Bush and held victim Dayna Klein hostage when she dialed 911, showing that he understood the nature and quality of his acts and could plan and respond, Raz said.
That he hid his guns while walking down the street on his way to the building and later surrendered to police show he knew right from wrong, Raz said.
"He was frustrated. He was angry. He was suicidal. But he wasn't insane," Raz said.
But defense attorney C. Wesley Richards urged the jury to not let their personal emotions or post-Sept. 11 biases cloud their judgment of the case.
"He believed he was there on a peacekeeping mission. Mr. Haq had a delusional belief that by coming to the federation and getting on CNN that he could change the course of two wars [in Iraq and Lebanon]. He thought what he was doing was right, that it was what God-willed," Richards told the jury.
Richards took jurors back through Haq's troubled history — his years of paranoia, believing he saw people glowing, hearing people constantly laughing at him behind his back.
Richards argued that problems with the dosing and side effects of some of Haq's medications, including a thyroid medication and an antidepressant, could have caused a manic state that led to the shooting.
And Richards disputed that Haq, of Pakistani background, selected the federation as a target because of employees' Jewish ties or religion. Instead, he said, Haq just had a problem with politics toward Israel.
Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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