Local News

UNC 'Pit' Suspect Back at Central Prison

Posted May 22, 2007 4:59 p.m. EDT

— A man accused of driving a sport utility vehicle through a popular student courtyard at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is back in jail.

Mohammed Taheri-azar was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation at Dorothea Dix Hospital after an expletive-laced tirade during a court appearance in early March.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Taheri-azar, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, is now at Central Prison in Raleigh on a $5.5 million bond.

A final report will determine whether he is capable of standing trial.

During the March 5 hearing, Taheri-azar, 23, yelled in court that he "hates all Americans" and "hates all Jews" and called his court-appointed attorney a "moron." He also made obscene gestures while he was being removed from the courtroom.

Authorities said Taheri-azar admitted to driving his vehicle into nine people at "the Pit" on the UNC campus in March 2006. No one was seriously injured. Taheri-azar said he did it to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.

Taheri-azar pleaded not guilty in January to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury. He was scheduled to go to court later in March to begin the pre-trial motions.