A man accused of storming Seattle's Jewish Federation offices, killing one woman and wounding five others in a fit of rage over U.S. foreign policy, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to aggravated first-degree murder and other charges.
At a court appearance on Friday, Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, indicated he wanted to plead guilty, but a King County Superior Court judge continued his arraignment to give his lawyers time to determine whether their client was competent to make such a plea.
On Tuesday, defense lawyer C. Wesley Richards said he and his co-counsel had met with Haq for nine hours during the past week and found no indication that he would not be capable of assisting in his own defense.
Haq would face either life in prison or execution if convicted in the death of Pamela Waechter, 58, director of the Jewish charity's annual fund-raising campaign.
In addition to the aggravated murder charge, Haq pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted first-degree murder in the July 28 shooting at the federation's downtown offices.
He also pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree kidnapping, involving a teenage girl who was briefly taken hostage; one count of first-degree burglary for allegedly entering a locked facility to commit a crime; and one count of malicious harassment under the state's hate-crime law.
Prosecutors say he forced his way into the Jewish Federation's offices and opened fire with a handgun, saying that he was upset about the war in Iraq and U.S. support of Israel.
Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable by death or life in prison without possibility of parole. King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng has not yet announced whether he will seek the death penalty.
Haq was being held without bail at King County Jail. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 30.