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Taheri-azar's Court Tirade Resembles Letters to Campus Paper

Posted March 5, 2007

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— Mohammed Taheri-azar shouted expletives and insulted his lawyer in the middle of a court hearing Monday, and it got him sent to Dorothea Dix Hospital for a mental examination.

Was the outburst a random tirade, or was it part of a plan by the man charged with driving an SUV into a crowd of students on the UNC Chapel Hill campus a year ago?

Letters Taheri-azar has written to the campus paper, The Daily Tar Heel, make it a reasonable thing to ask.

In the last year, Taheri-azar, 23, a UNC alumnus, has written nearly 100 letters to The Daily Tar Heel. In the last two weeks alone, newspaper staff members say, there have been nearly a dozen.

WRAL got a closer look at the letters Monday evening, and it seemed that just about everything Taheri-azar said in court Monday was already in them.

“Death to Israel,” Taheri-azar said Monday, along with yelling anti-Jewish remarks and calling his attorney incompetent.

Judge Ken Titus ordered that Taheri-azar be sent to the hospital to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. That evaluation could take anywhere from 28 to 60 days.

“I think the behavior you witnessed was the behavior of a severely ill and mentally disturbed person,” defense attorney James Williams, said Monday. It may not have been unplanned, however.

A hand-written recent written letter that Taheri-azar sent to UNC's school paper, The Daily Tar Heel, from Central Prison in Raleigh, struck a similar tone.

"He said, ‘I also consider the public defender, James E. William (sic) a vermonous dishonest scumbag, embosil, moron,’" quoted Sarah Gregory, a Daily Tar Heel reporter who is working on a story about the letters. The language and spelling are Taheri-azar’s.

That letter is dated Feb. 23. The similarities in that letter and others to the outburst Monday is notable.

"He goes back and forth about how he feels in the letters,” Gregory said. She added that the tone of the letters has changed, becoming more violent.

"Recently, we've gotten some that are weird diatribes: ‘I hate Jews and here's why,’" Daily Tar Heel Editor Joe Schwartz said.

“Everybody, I hate all Americans and all Jews, alright?" Taheri-azar said in court Monday.

Many of The Daily Tar Heel's letters from Taheri-azar have been subpoena for the trial. The paper says it will print a few of the exerts in upcoming articles.

Taheri-azar looked at Titus Monday and asked him what his name was and then asked him to spell it. Taheri-azar then looked at his attorney and said, "I don't know him."

Taheri-Azar was seen making obscene gestures and yelling profanities before entering the Orange County Courthouse. He was supposed to appear before the judge regarding letters he wrote within the past two weeks to Judge Carl Fox.

The content of the dozen letters is not known, and Titus ordered them sealed.


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  • georgewilson11 Mar 7, 2007

    Turn him lose in the general population at Central Prison and buy him in a cardboard box !

  • fsck Mar 6, 2007

    Before I saw the video of this guy, I had a lot of anger towards him. After I saw him on tape, I realize he is just a dumb kid.

    I hear him speak with a southern accent and I wonder how in the hell he hates us so bad when he grew up with us. If it wasn't for his name, he would be no different from us. I feel sorry for him. I wonder why someone does not talk to him and give him the oppurtunity to straighten out his life. There was no reason to disrepect the judge, his lawyer or to say such negative things. He is just being stupid.

  • Lizard Paw Mar 6, 2007

    He was doing exactly what the koran teaches.

    Let the koran dictate his punishment. LOL!

  • truth Mar 6, 2007

    Nutcase my butt, he is totally sane and knows exactly what he is doing, getting attention. He is a nobody who is ranting and raving about his BS religion. He thinks he's a bad a$$ for driving through a crowd of people, ooohh big man! Let's see how he does one on one with a crowd of those people against him?! He is trash!

  • norwinfischer Mar 6, 2007

    Need to air drop this guy in the middle of Afghanistan or wherever the heck it is he came from. Not sure he'd last too long in the "real world." Don't they keep duct tape in courtrooms??? 1001 uses!

  • lucky22 Mar 6, 2007

    This guy wants his 15 minutes of fame. He's a bonafide nut case. If he hate American's so much let's put him on a plane and send him back to where he came from. I have to pay taxes to help the state take care of him. We will be paying to take care of this guy for many years to come. If we are lucky he won't last long in prison/

  • Happy Hiker Mar 6, 2007

    I'm amazed at the bloodthirsty folks calling for the death penalty here. If you remember, nobody was seriously injured, and this guy, crazy as he is, isn't part of any credible terrorist threat to the US.

  • cowman Mar 6, 2007

    Our so - called justice system is not interested in justice, it's only interested in MONEY !!

  • futbalfantic Mar 6, 2007

    What he did a year ago was terrorism. He said it was. After he drive through the campus he told atthorites that he did it to get a point across... that equals terrorism the the "T". He should be punished likewise. That means the death pentalty at a federial facitly

  • DrCarolina Mar 6, 2007

    It would be much worse for Mr. Taheri-azar to be institutionalized than for him to go to jail - the indefinite nature of institutionalization would much exceed any possible jail time. I doubt seriously this is a ploy on his part to cheat a lighter punishment.