Local News

Taheri-azar Deemed Competent for Trial

Posted June 13, 2007 6:50 a.m. EDT
Updated June 13, 2007 6:01 p.m. EDT

— A state psychiatrist has found the man charged with driving an SUV into a crowd on the University of North Carolina campus a year ago  is competent to stand trial.

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

Taheri-azar surrendered shortly after the attack, in which nine students were injured, 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.

During a brief court appearance on March 5, he yelled that he hates all Americans and all Jews and called his court-appointed attorney a moron.

In a May 20 letter to Orange County Superior Court, he said he regretted "The Pit" attack and his courtroom behavior and just wants to go work for his father's contracting business in California.

After his March hearing, he was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination at Dorothea Dix Hospital.

Dr. Charles V. Vance, a psychiatrist at the hospital, found Taheri-azar competent to stand trial in the case, and defense attorney James Williams said Wednesday that he wouldn't contest the finding.

Unlike his last court appearance, Taheri-azar made no comment during a brief hearing Wednesday. His parents and two sisters also declined to comment.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 17.