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Alleged Jewish Federation shooter tries to plead guilty

-Cp

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Accused Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle shooter Naveed Haq attempted to plead guilty this morning to nine felonies, including a charge of aggravated first-degree murder that could bring the death penalty.

But after objections from Haq's attorney, who said he had concerns about Haq's mental competency, the judge ordered Haq's arraignment to be continued until Tuesday, and no pleas were entered.


After the counts were read, Haq whispered into the ear of defense attorney C. Wesley Richards.

"My client is indicating that it his desire to enter guilty pleas," Richards then told King County Superior Court Judge Michael Trickey. "I have concerns about his reasoning."

Richards said Haq's request took him by surprise, and that he's had limited contact with his client. He asked the judge not to allow Haq to enter guilty pleas, "so I can fully discuss with him the consequencesÂ…he has a mental-health history."

Haq, 30, is accused of forcing his way into the downtown Seattle offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on July 28 and opening fire on employees. One, Pamela Waechter, was killed, and five other women were injured during the rampage. Haq is charged with one count of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary and malicious harassment, the state's hate-crime law.

Don Raz, senior deputy prosecuting attorney, agreed to continue the arraignment and hold off on pleas. "Mr. Haq certainly has the right to plead guilty, but I think it would serve all interests" to investigate his intent.

The judge and attorneys expressed uncertainty about the legal implications of a guilty plea, especially to an aggravated murder charge that could bring the death penalty.

Trickey asked the lawyers to research the issue and send him briefs by Friday outlining the case history and addressing whether Haq could even plead guilty to the most serious charge against him.

"I think the case law does permit Mr. Haq to do this, but I'm concerned about Count 1," Trickey said.

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty for Haq. Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable by either death or life in prison without the possibility of release.

Haq is being held without bail in King County Jail.

Robin Boehler, chairwoman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, said she was surprised by Haq's attempted plea. "I think it's significant he was willing to admit in court he committed these crimes."

Boehler, who was in court this morning, said there will be a representative of the Jewish community at each of Haq's court appearances.

"We want to be there to remind people this is not just about Mr. Haq but about the people he attacked," Boehler said. "This is a hate crime this isn't just any murder."

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle announced today it has established a special fund to help the victims and the organization recover from the shootings. Donations to the fund can be made by mail through the Jewish Federation Victim's Assistance Fund administered by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco. Checks should be made to: Seattle Victims' Fund, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, 121 Steuart St., San Francisco, CA 94105.

The funds will be used to benefit victims, their family members and the Federation. Donations will be allocated to a variety of services and reimbursements including travel expenses, medical assistance, psychological counseling as well as security enhancements to the Federation's Seattle facility.



http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003189296_webhaq10.html
 

Avatar4321

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If he wants to plead guilty and he is obviously guilty then let him plead guilty. The only reason the lawyer wants to avoid it is to make more money and publicity with this case.
 

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