Naveed Haq gets life for Jewish Federation shooting

Naveed Haq gets life for Jewish Federation shooting »Play Video
Naveed Haq is seen during his sentencing hearing in King County Superior Court hearing on Thursday, January 14, 2010.
SEATTLE - A King County Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced Naveed Haq to life in prison without release for a shooting rampage at the Seattle Jewish Federation office that killed one woman and wounded five others.

The life sentence was the only option after a jury rejected Haq's insanity claims last month and convicted him for the 2006 shootings.

Haq listened quietly to his sentencing in the courtroom, dressed in a red prison jumpsuit with his head shaved, flanked by his attorneys.

Behind Haq, rows of spectators, witnesses and victims' family members sat listening to the proceedings.

Judge Paris Kallas heard emotional testimony from shooting victims, including Nicole Waechter, whose mother, Pam Waechter, was killed in the 2006 shooting.

Nicole spoke of her mother's love and care and told the judge her mother would have wanted her friends and family to move on and keep laughing.

Another victim, Cheryl Stumbo, directed her remarks toward Haq, who was found guilty in December on aggravated murder and attempted murder charges.

"You failed at everything you tried to do that day. You failed, and I triumphed," she said.

Haq also spoke, apologizing for his actions and appealing for forgiveness, but also reiterating his claim that he was mentally ill and saying he was not a violent person.

Haq said he thanks God every day more people were not killed and said a cocktail of poorly prescribed psychiatric drugs turned him into a violent man.

"I pray for forgiveness every day for the death of Pam Waechter. She should not have died," Haq said.

The judge said mental illness impaired Naveed Haq's judgment but not seriously.

"Mr. Haq understood his plan, knew it was wrong, and carried it out anyway," she said.

Haq, 34, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the July 2006 shootings, which killed Pam Waechter, the federation's 58-year-old campaign director. Five employees - Cheryl Stumbo, Carol Goldman, Dayna Klein, Christina Rexroad and Layla Bush - were wounded.

Haq's first trial ended last year with jurors deadlocked on whether he was legally insane during the shooting spree on July 28, 2006. But he was convicted in the second trial last month.

Haq drove from his eastern Washington home to Seattle the day of the attack and forced a teenage girl at gunpoint to let him into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

Once in the second-floor office, he opened fire, shooting some people in their cubicles, some in the hall and one, Pamela Waechter, fatally as she fled down a stairwell.

The prosecutor did not seek the death penalty against the 34-year-old Pasco man. Life is the only other sentence for an aggravated murder conviction.