Naveed Haq's second trial for allegedly shooting six women at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle begins today.
For the past several weeks, Cheryl Stumbo has awakened in the middle of the night with her jaw clenched, struck by the fear that the man who shot her and five co-workers could somehow be freed.
Today, Stumbo, 46, will take the witness stand in Naveed Haq’s second trial to offer testimony she hopes will keep that from happening.
Haq will face a King County jury for a second time in less than a year and a half for the July 28, 2006, shootings at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle that left one woman dead and five others wounded. 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.
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Over the next several days Stumbo and the other survivors 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, will be 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. There are 16 jurors hearing the case.
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’s lawyers have never questioned whether he pulled the trigger. They are pursuing a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Defense attorneys have declined to comment.
Prosecutors plan to introduce as evidence recordings of phone calls made by Haq in jail to prove he is legally sane.
The Tri-Cities man is accused of forcing his way into the Belltown offices of the federation by forcing his way through a security door behind Stumbo’s then 14-year-old niece, Kelsey Burkum.
Burkum, now 17, is scheduled to be the first witness to take the stand after the defense and prosecution opening statements, Stumbo said.
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. Haq, who is of Pakistani heritage, reportedly railed against Jews and U.S. policies with Israel as he opened fire.
Stumbo said she can’t shake the memory of Haq walking into the Belltown office building holding a gun and shooting her in the abdomen.
Pamela 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