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Originally published December 10, 2009 at 9:46 AM | Page modified December 11, 2009 at 12:33 AM

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Fate of Jewish Federation shooter now in jury's hands

A King County jury has begun deliberating the fate of Naveed Haq.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A King County jury has begun deliberating the fate of Naveed Haq.

The prosecution and the defense each gave its closing argument this morning, followed by the rebuttal argument this afternoon by Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erin Ehlert. The case was then turned over to the jury, which deliberated for a few hours before going home.

Jurors will resume deliberations Friday morning.

The focus of the seven-week trial has been Haq's mental state at the time of the July 28, 2006, shootings at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. The defense did not dispute that Haq walked into the offices and killed one employee and wounded five others, but insisted that he was legally insane at the time.

Haq has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Defense attorneys are asking that Haq be sent to a state mental hospital.

In her closing argument this morning, Ehlert told jurors they could "disregard" the team of mental-health experts the defense called to the witness stand over the past several weeks "because the state agrees he has a mental illness."

But prosecutors believe Haq was not insane when he entered the federation offices.

"He knew exactly what he was doing," Ehlert told jurors.

Throughout her closing, Ehlert played recordings of Haq's phone conversations from jail, which prosecutors claim showed that Haq was sane. The calls were not admitted in Haq's first trial, but have been played for jurors several times during the second trial.

In his nearly hourlong closing argument, defense attorney Christopher Swaby grew emotional when talking about Haq's mental illnesses.

"Mr. Haq had a mental disease or defect on July 28, 2006," Swaby told the jury. "It affected his ability to know the difference between right and wrong."

This is the second time Haq has faced a King County jury for the shootings. His first trial ended in a mistrial last year after jurors said they were deadlocked on all but one of the 15 criminal counts he was facing.

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Prosecutors reduced the number of charges against Haq for the second trial to simplify deliberations for jurors.

Haq, 34, is being tried on eight counts — one count of aggravated first-degree murder; five counts of attempted first-degree murder; one count of unlawful imprisonment; and one count of malicious harassment, the state's hate-crime law.

Haq is accused of forcing his way into the Belltown offices of the federation and randomly shooting employees he encountered. Pamela Waechter, the federation's 58-year-old campaign director, was killed and employees Cheryl Stumbo, Carol Goldman, Dayna Klein, Christina Rexroad and Layla Bush were wounded.

Witnesses said Haq, who is of Pakistani heritage, railed against Jews and U.S. policies with Israel as he opened fire.

Haq surrendered after talking with a 911 dispatcher who said that she couldn't fulfill his demand that she patch his phone call into the CNN newsroom.

On the 911 tape, which the prosecution played for jurors Oct. 21 during on the opening day of the trial, Haq said that he was tired of the world ignoring the Muslim point of view.

"I don't care if I die," Haq said to the dispatcher. "This is just to make a point."

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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