Naveed Haq’s July 2006 shooting spree at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle offices was a nightmare for those trapped in the building. More than three years later, the survivors of the attack are hailing his conviction, handed down December 15, as a “Hanukkah miracle.”
A jury found Haq guilty of first-degree murder for killing federation employee Pam Waechter. Six other women working at the federation were wounded.
It was the second trial for Haq, 34, who had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Haq will receive an automatic life term in prison.
“This guilty verdict will provide some closure for many in the Seattle Jewish community,” said Richard Fruchter, president and CEO of the federation. “However, even with this strong message that violence and hate crimes will not be tolerated, we are painfully aware that we cannot bring back Pam.”
The first trial, in spring 2008, ended in a mistrial after two weeks of deliberation because of the jury’s inability to resolve the question of Haq’s sanity. This time the jury reached a verdict after just two-and-a-half days of deliberation, bringing the nearly nine-week trial to a close.
Prosecutor Don Raz said he believes the state’s success in the second trial was largely due to the admission of new evidence: tapes from a series of phone conversations that Haq had from jail with his mother and other family members soon after his arrest.
In the recordings, Haq’s mother is heard telling her son that he is sick and that it is because of his mental illness that he committed the attack. Haq repeatedly denies the assertion, saying he feels fine and that he is proud of what he did.
Distributed by JTA.