LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man who fatally shot a U.S. Army soldier and wounded another outside a recruiting station in Little Rock.
The ruling dated Thursday and first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said Abdulhakim Muhammad’s appeal is without merit.
Muhammad, 34, was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to the 2009 fatal shooting of Pvt. William Long of Conway and wounding of Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville outside the Little Rock Army-Navy Career Center.
In an interview with The Associated Press shortly after his arrest, Muhammad, who changed his name from Carlos Bledsoe, said he didn’t consider the killing a murder because U.S. military action in the Middle East made the killing justified.
Serving as his own attorney, Muhammad said in a handwritten appeal that Pulaski County Circuit Court “lacked jurisdiction to try this case based on the fact federal courts not state courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses over laws of the United States.
The state’s highest court, in an opinion written by Associate Justice Robin Wynne, disagreed.
“Under the doctrine of dual sovereignty, the State of Arkansas may prosecute any person whose conduct violated state law even if the person’s conduct also violated federal law,” Wynne wrote.