A man accused of shooting six women — one fatally — at a Jewish center pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday as prosecutors added 11 counts against him.
Naveed Haq, 31, who has a long history of mental illness, initially pleaded not guilty following the July 28 shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. But at a King County Superior Court hearing, he changed it to an insanity plea for the 20 charges he now faces.
Haq was initially charged with aggravated murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and one count each of burglary and malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime law. Prosecutors added a charge of unlawful imprisonment and five counts each of burglary and malicious harassment — so there is now one count for each victim.
The additional charges “more accurately reflect the extent of his conduct,” said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County prosecutor’s office.
Trial is scheduled for January. Haq would receive life in prison if convicted of aggravated murder. King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng, who died last week, called the shooting one of the most serious crimes in the city’s history, but declined to seek the death penalty because of Haq’s history of mental illness.
Had gotten psychiatric help, friend says
Haq, who grew up in the Tri-Cities area of south-central Washington, has been treated for bipolar disorder, according to prosecutors, and a family friend said he had been getting psychiatric help for 10 years.
Pamela Waechter, director of the center’s annual fundraising campaign, was killed in the shooting. Haq allegedly said he was a Muslim angry about the war in Iraq and U.S. support of Israel.
He surrendered after a pregnant woman he is accused of shooting persuaded him to speak with an emergency operator. The woman, Dayna Klein, later gave birth to a healthy boy.
Haq’s next court date is a pretrial hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.