Local News

'Pit' Attack Suspect to Get Mental Exam

Posted February 22, 2008

— Another psychiatric evaluation was ordered Friday for the man charged with driving an SUV into a crowd on the University of North Carolina campus two years ago.

Mohammed Taheri-azar is charged with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of felonious assault in connection with the March 3, 2006, incident at "The Pit," a popular student hangout on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, in which nine students were injured.

Taheri-azar surrendered shortly after the incident and told police that he wanted to harm Americans in response to U.S. attacks on Muslims overseas. The UNC graduate has since waffled between expressing remorse for the incident and anger.

A psychiatrist at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh examined Taheri-azar last year after a courtroom outburst in which Taheri-azar yelled that he hated all Americans and Jews and called his court-appointed attorney a moron.

The psychiatrist ruled at the time that Taheri-azar was competent to stand trial.

The evaluation ordered Friday by Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour is needed because defense attorneys have indicated they plan to argue insanity, diminished capacity or other mental health issues at trial.

A trial has been scheduled for March 31, but it's unclear whether the need for a mental exam will push that back.


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  • grenlyn1 Feb 22, 2008

    THIS IS PURELY A HATE CRIME...AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH!!! If you take a vehicle and try to run over American's because you HATE American's and want to see them dead...constitutes a HATE CRIME. You can evaluate him and reevaluate him and you will still come to the same conclusion...he is sane..now lets get to trial and get this over with..who are they protecting anyway...???? Their integrity? For Pete's sake..what about the integrity of those this criminal ran over? Get on with it already!!!!

  • Gooseye Feb 22, 2008

    Where's the hate crime charges for the original incident, backed up by the racial rantings in court. Oh, that's right, hate crimes only flow in the other direction.

  • ifcdirector Feb 22, 2008

    Only in Chapel Hill could a man declare himself a terrorist, carry out a terrorist act, then turn himself in to the police only to have them not believe him and offer him social services....... No wonder Chapel Hill per capita has probably had the most attacks by madmen per capita in this state. They know they are never going to get the death penalty and are most assured of plenty of unarmed (willing?) victims.

  • stand_up Feb 22, 2008

    He is not crazy. He is quiet, contemplative, and extremely intelligent. I actually had a Spanish class with this individual and I was there during the pit incident.

    He ought rot in jail where he belongs. This was no terrorist incident; this was just some stupid kid screaming for attention and we ought not give it to him.

  • Huey Feb 22, 2008

    Who benefits, other than the attacker, by all these games that
    the system is playing with him? How long until he finally goes to trial? How many more exams must the people pay for? How many more times must the news show his smirking smiles? This case is just
    another example of why our broken system of "American justice"
    needs major overhauling.

  • Harrison Bergeron Feb 22, 2008

    "I am sorry but claiming that he has "diminished capacity" does not stand. He received a degree from UNC." -frenzeegrrl

    Or does it? (he he he - kidding)

  • sunflowerbubbles Feb 22, 2008

    Here again we'll waste our hard earned tax money to support this other evaluation...he knew what he was doing...

  • PikeMom4real Feb 22, 2008

    I am curious as to what his parents have to say,but it never mentions anything about them.

  • Iquana Feb 22, 2008

    Its a shame he wasnt driving yesterday during the protest were students burned fake draft cards. Fake draft cards??

  • Tater Salad Feb 22, 2008

    He's always smirking in his court room photos