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2006 Top Newsmakers: UNC-Chapel Hill 'Pit' Attack

Posted December 26, 2006

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— (March 3) A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate admitted to deliberately hitting nine people on the UNC campus "to punish the government of the United States for (its) actions around the world."

Mohammed Taheri-azar, 22, made the confession in a 911 call shortly after the March 3 incident. Authorities said he was traveling at about 40 mph when he plowed a sport utility vehicle into a common gathering spot known as "The Pit."

Taheri-azar is charges with 18 counts of attempted murder and assault and faces up to 100 years in prison if convicted.

Was the incident an act of terrorism? The FBI joined the investigation but never charged Taheri-azar. The question sparked debate on the UNC-CH campus with students criticizing authorities and the media for hesitating to label Taheri-azar's alleged action as an act of terrorism.

Court officials have said a trial could begin in the spring or summer of 2007.

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