HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – The man accused of driving into a plaza at the University of North Carolina last year, injuring nine people, will offer a mental impairment defense at his trial, his lawyer said in court papers.
Mohammed Taheri-Azar, 24, told investigators he hoped to "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world" when he drove the rented SUV into the plaza at the school's Chapel Hill campus in March 2006, authorities have said. Nine people were injured, none seriously.
The Iranian-born Taheri-Azar, a 2005 UNC graduate, faces multiple counts of attempted murder and assault.
A notice filed in court Wednesday by public defender James Williams indicates that a defense of insanity, mental infirmity and-or diminished capacity will be used. The trial has been tentatively scheduled for March.
Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall has said Taheri-Azar knew what he was doing. His vehicle plowed through a gathering place known as the Pit, scattering students. Moments later, Taheri-Azar called 911 to surrender.