SEATTLE - Naveed Haq will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted Tuesday in his second murder trial for the 2006 shooting rampage at the Seattle Jewish Center.
Haq's first trial ended with jurors deadlocked on whether he was insane during the July 28, 2006 shooting spree that took the life of Pamela Waechter and injured five others.
Haq was found guilty of aggravated murder, attempted murder, unlawful imprisonment and malicious harassment, which is a hate crime.
Inside court, several of the survivors watched the verdicts. They held hands, cried and hugged as the guilty verdicts were read in court.
Survivor Cheryl Stumbo rushed from a hospital visit, where she was being treated for complications for wounds suffered during the attack. After hearing the verdict, Stumbo began crying.
I couldn't be happier or more grateful for the jurors' guilty decision, she said.
Prosecutors say Haq was motivated by anger. In court, they portrayed Haq as a man upset over United States and Israeli relations. According to prosecutors, Haq specifically targeted Jewish victims. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said the verdicts were justice for the victims and the community.
Haq's attorneys declined to speak after court. During the trial, they argued that he is a mentally ill man who did not have the right medications and was insane at the time of the shooting. Haq pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorney's fought to have him sent to a mental hospital instead of prison.
To avoid another deadlocked jury, prosecutors simplified their case during this second trial. They also introduced jailhouse phone calls between Haq and his mother and video of Haq speaking to his therapist. Senior Prosecuting Attorney Don Raz thinks the phone calls made a difference with jurors.
After court, juror John Bennet explained that he wanted to hear from Haq himself. Since Haq did not take the stand, he says the taped words from Haq made him believe the Pasco man knew what he was doing.
The videotape of the interview with Haq talking, that satisfied me, said Bennett.
Since Haq was convicted of aggravated first degree murder, next month, he will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
The Jewish Federation issued a press release regarding the verdict.
We are grateful that justice for this heinous hate crime has finally been served, stated Richard Fruchter, President & CEO of the Jewish Federation. Our hearts go out to the survivors of this shooting and their families, who bravely endured not only the shooting but two trials, continued Fruchter.
By its very definition, a hate crime creates fear within an entire group of people. This one act forever changed the feeling of safety in our local Jewish community and for Jewish communal professionals everywhere.