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Sanity Of Suspect In Three-County Rampage Big Issue For Trial

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DURHAM, N.C. — Abdullah Shareef is accused of killing one and hurting four people on a deadly rampage two years ago. Prosecutors say he knew what he was doing and should die for it. But Shareef's lawyers say he's insane, and, therefore, not guilty.

According to authorities, Shareef allegedly stole two cars and led authorities through three counties before being taken into custody in April 2004. Along the way, he allegedly hit five pedestrians. One man was killed. Four people, including Gary Weller, were hurt and are still recovering.

"Is it going to do me any good to dwell on what happened and feel sorry for myself? No. It's got to make me better. You've got to think about the positive stuff," said Weller.

Shareef was sent to Dorothea Dix Mental Hospital after the incidents. At first, a judge ruled he wasn't competent to stand trial. Now a judge has decided differently. Both sides are planning their next moves.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty. Defense lawyers said Shareef will plead insanity. Which raises the question: How can someone be competent on one hand, but insane on the other?

Lawyer David Courie isn't involved in this case, but explained the difference.

"You may go into trial understanding the trial and everything it's about, but still be able to allege on the day in question you don't understand what was going on and your own actions," said Courie.

Weller said he doesn't spend time thinking about Shareef. He's concentrating on healing himself.

"A situation like this can either make you bitter or it can make you better, and I choose not to let it make me bitter," said Weller.

Weller said he is close to walking again. Like always, he's looking to the future, not the past.

Shareef's trial date has not been set. He is still being held at Dorothea Dix Hospital.


Jason Stoogenke, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Dana Franks, Web Editor

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