IMAGE: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad
Danny Johnston  /  AP
Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad is accused in the death of a military recruiter in Little Rock, Ark.
updated 6/9/2009 3:27:33 PM ET 2009-06-09T19:27:33

A Muslim convert charged in the killing of a soldier at a recruiting center in Arkansas says he didn't consider it murder because U.S. military action in the Middle East made the killing justified.

Abdulhakim Muhammad told The Associated Press Tuesday in Little Rock that he confessed to police that he killed Pvt. William Long outside an Army-Navy recruiting center.

But he said murder exists only "without a justified reason."

In a collect call from jail, the 23-year-old man said he didn't specifically plan the June 1 shootings but that they had been on his mind for awhile.

He disputed his lawyer's claim that he had been "radicalized" in a prison in Yemen.

Long was shot to death June 1 outside the Army-Navy Career Center, where he had volunteered to tell others about his military experience. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.

Muhammad, who prosecutors allege was out to avenge mistreatment of Muslims, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder.

Judge Alice Lightle on Monday issued a gag order in the case at the request of prosecutors.

Prosecutors allege Muhammad wanted to kill as many soldiers as he could because of harm he believed the military has done to Muslims.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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