Lawyer: Seattle Jewish Center Shooting Suspect May Plead Guilty

A Muslim man accused of killing a woman and wounding five other people in a shooting rampage at Seattle's Jewish Federation offices wants to plead guilty, his attorney told a judge Thursday.

The judge put off the arraignment of Naveed Afzal Haq until Tuesday so Haq's lawyer could determine whether his client is competent to enter the plea.

Haq is charged with murder in the death of Pamela Waechter, who was the director of the Jewish charity's annual fundraising campaign, and with five counts of attempted murder.

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Haq, 30, "is indicating that it is his desire to enter guilty pleas," defense attorney C. Wesley Richards said.

Haq, an American-born son of Pakistani immigrants, is accused of forcing his way into the charity's offices and opening fire July 28 out of anger over the war in Iraq and U.S. support of Israel.

Haq is jailed without bail on charges including murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Volunteers from the Jewish Federation quietly watched the proceedings in the heavily guarded courtroom. The courthouse has metal detectors at its entrance, but spectators at Haq's hearing had to pass through another metal detector outside the courtroom.

Richards said he wasn't aware of Haq's plan before Thursday, and the judge delayed the rest of the hearing until Tuesday to give him time to determine whether Haq is competent to enter a guilty plea.

He is being held in the King County Jail without bail. Prosecutors have not decided whether they will seek the death penalty.

The judge Thursday granted a prosecution request to bar Haq from having contact with the survivors of the shooting or volunteers and employees of the Jewish Federation.

In addition to the murder and attempted murder counts, Haq is charged with first-degree kidnapping, involving a teenage girl who was briefly taken hostage; first-degree burglary, for allegedly entering a locked facility to commit a crime; and malicious harassment under the state's hate-crime law.

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