Thursday, January 25, 2007

Taheri-Azar Incident Update

Last year (March 3, 2006), Mohammed Taheri-Azar, a 23-year-old native of Iran and former UNC Chapel Hill student, drove a rented SUV through the heart of the UNC Chapel Hill campus, hitting nine people. While none were seriously injured, Taheriazar called 911 and admitted to the attacks. Reports claim that he made statements to the effect that he drove onto the campus with the intent to injure people to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world. He was supposed to enter a plea of guilty today, but instead chose to enter a not guilty plea:
Taheri-Azar allegedly told the dispatcher he wanted to "punish the government of the United States for their actions around the world." Taheri-azar later told investigators he intentionally ran down people to "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world," authorities have said.

In letters to the media, he said he intended to avenge the United States' treatment of Muslims in the Middle East.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Tuesday he may ask reporters who received letters from Taheri-Azar to testify in the case.

"The issue is not confidentiality," Woodall said. "The media is still just a witness if you do something publicly."

Taheri-Azar, who graduated from the university in December 2005, had earlier said he intended to plead guilty to the charges.

Asked why his client had not entered that plea, Taheri-Azar's attorney, James Williams said only, "That's a very good question." He declined additional comment.
He is facing nine counts each of attempted murder and assault. It is a real good question why he didn't enter the guilty plea considering that earlier reports noted that he wanted the trial to be over.

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