The second trial of Naveed Haq got underway this morning with a prosecutor saying anger made the Tri-Cities man storm the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and kill one woman and wound five others.
In the days following his arrest for killing one woman and wounding five others at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Naveed Haq relished in his “celebrity” status, a prosecutor said this morning.
Haq told his mother over the phone that he “did the right thing” by going on a shooting rampage at the center’s offices in July 2006, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Don Raz said in his opening statement. Haq also told his mother that slain federation employee Pamela Waechter was an “Israeli collaborator.”
Raz used details of Haq’s phone calls from the King County Jail to illustrate that the Tri-Cities man was cool, calculating and, most of all, sane when he entered the federation offices and opened fire. The jail phone calls were not admissible in Haq’s first trial, but are expected to figure prominently in his second trial.
Defense attorney John Carpenter began his opening statement by telling jurors Haq’s mind was “darkened by mental illness” at the time of the shootings.
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Haq has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Carpenter said Haq spent years battling mental illness. He said that Haq got into bar fights, road-rage incidents, exposed himself in a shopping mall and took random drives across the country because of his illness and because of incorrect drugs prescribed to him.
Carpenter played a choppy 20-second surveillance video that showed an armed Haq entering the federation offices behind the adolescent niece of one of the victims. The video then showed the Haq chasing after Waechter.
He also played a recording of Haq’s conversation with 911 dispatchers on the day of the shootings. Haq tells dispatchers that he didn’t care about hurting anyone or whether his parents would miss him if he was killed by police.
“I don’t care if I die,” Haq told a dispatcher. “This is just to make a point.”
When a dispatcher told Haq that she could not fulfill his demand of patching his phone call into the CNN newsroom, he said he would surrender.
Haq, who is of Pakistani heritage, told dispatchers that he was angry about U.S. policies with Israel and wanted the U.S. to pull its military forces out of Iraq.
Carpenter told jurors that Waechter’s death could be considered a “coldblooded killing” had it not been Haq pulling the trigger.
“He shot and killed an innocent woman. He shot and maimed five innocent women,” Carpenter said. “If Mr. Haq’s mind that day was fully operational Pam Waechter probably wouldn’t be dead.”
Haq is facing a King County jury for a second time in less than a year and a half for the July 28, 2006, shootings. His first trial ended in a mistrial in June 2008 after jurors said they were deadlocked on all but one of the 15 criminal counts he was facing.
Over the next several days the surviving victims will recount in detail the gunfire, the terror and the pain they suffered when Haq stormed the Seattle office. Since then, one woman has had a baby, others have moved on to new jobs and several still suffer from the physical effects of their wounds.
Since the first trial, prosecutors have streamlined the charges to simplify things for jurors.
Haq, 34, is being tried on just 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.
Prosecutors eliminated seven of the charges from Haq’s case, including one count of first-degree burglary, five counts of malicious harassment and one count of kidnapping.
The only charge that the last jury agreed on was acquitting Haq of attempted first-degree murder, stemming from the injuries sustained by victim Carol Goldman.
Haq is accused of forcing his way into the Belltown offices of the federation by forcing his way through a security door behind s then 14-year-old Kelsey Burkum, the niece of victim Cheryl Stumbo, 46.
Burkum, now 17, is scheduled to be the first witness to take the stand after this morning’s opening statements. Stumbo and Goldman will take the stand after her, Raz said today.
During the first trial Burkum testified that she was near the building’s locked front door when Haq pulled out a silver handgun and told her to open the door. Burkum wasn’t injured in the attack.
As Haq made his way through the offices, randomly shooting those he encountered, people screamed and tried to escape, some jumping out of windows or hiding inside offices.
Waechter, the federation’s 58-year-old campaign director, was killed in the attack. In addition to Stumbo, Goldman, Dayna Klein, Christina Rexroad and Layla Bush were wounded.
“My brain can’t stop thinking about the possibilities. I couldn’t imagine last time they would reach a hung jury,” Stumbo said on Tuesday. “Now I can’t say I can’t imagine it. It still scares me.”
While Stumbo said she doesn’t care if Haq spends the rest of his life in prison, or as a criminally insane inmate at Western State Hospital, she said “there just needs to be a decision.”
Stumbo, who now works at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said the attack not only left her with physical injuries — she recently had another surgery because of the bullet wound to her abdomen — but she also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and has been seeing a therapist regularly.
“It’s obvious that Mr. Haq is a danger to himself,” Stumbo said. “If he walks, it would be a total injustice — especially to Pam’s memory.”
Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org