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The man behind the crime

62-year-old Biswanath Halder was an immigrant from India, thought of as a loner on campus.
Biswanath Halder, 62, is shown in a Cleveland Police photo.AP file

For the shootings  at the Case Western University, 62-year-old Biswanath Halder was charged with 338 felony counts— including aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated burglary, attempted murder, illegal weapons possession and terrorism. Ssome of those charges were dropped on the first day of trial before opening arguments, and the terrorism charge was dropped before jury deliberations.

Halder was a former MBA student at Case Western Reserve University. Born in India, Halder moved to the United States in 1969, hoping to get rich.  He earned his degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1999, and continued to take classes at the school.

Halder was known around the campus as a loner. Halder never socialized, living alone in his attic apartment. He stood out because of his odd behavior and clothing, and the obvious toupee he wore.

He was often seen spending his time at the computer laboratory.

In July 2000, someone hacked into Halder’s computer and deleted thousands of files. Those files, he said, were the groundwork for a multi-million dollar business. The hacker had also left behind a number of offensive messages in the guestbook on Halder's Web site.

He claimed Shawn Miller, a computer lab supervisor, was responsible for this. Halder knew Miller from his time at the lab. They didn't get along.  A couple of times Miller had to discipline Halder for breaking the rules. He says Halder just ignored him.

Miller denied again and again that he was the hacker but Halder didn't believe him. Infuriated, Halder complained to Case Western school authorities demanding that Miller be punished but the university referred the matter to police. When the police dropped the case for lack of evidence, Halder still wasn't satisfied. So he sued Miller. This litigation is by no means his first. (Halder has a history of suing — in the '70s and '80s he filed lawsuits against computer companies that refused to hire him, claiming discrimination.)

At the end of April 2003, Halder's lawsuit was thrown out of court. Convinced now that Miller and the university had conspired to harm him, Halder picked up a gun, the prosecutor said, with a mission in mind. He was intent on finding his own justice.

Biswanath Halder's defense team openly admitted what he had done but begged the jury to convict Halder on lesser charges arguing his actions were not those of a ruthless killer intent on mass murder. They claimed he was a mentally ill man, and called in witnesses to testify to his delusions.

Halder didn't make it easy for his lawyers to prepare a defense, often barking orders at them. One defense attorney says Halder would ask them to do tasks that had nothing to do with the case — such as insisting on getting two cent stamps.