LITTLE ROCK — A man who confessed to shooting two soldiers outside a military recruiting station in Arkansas struck a plea deal with prosecutors Monday to avoid the death penalty.
Abdulhakim Muhammad pleaded guilty in the middle of his trial to capital murder and attempted capital murder charges. Pulaski County Judge Herbert Wright then sentenced Muhammad to life in prison without parole for capital murder, with 11 more life sentences for the remaining charges against him plus an additional 180 years in prison.
He confessed to the shootings in phone calls to the Associated Press. He also admitted the crimes to the judge overseeing his case and to authorities. Muhammad said he was acting in retribution for the deaths of Muslims in U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The man accused of fatally shooting a soldier outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock in 2009 now says he wanted to start a terrorist cell in the U.S., but a prosecutor brushed off the claims Saturday as “just ridiculous.”
In his latest letter to the court, Abdulhakim Muhammad told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright that he wanted to return to the U.S. from Yemen to start his own terror group. Muhammad was deported from Yemen in early 2009, after being in prison in the Middle Eastern country for immigration violations.
Muhammad was born in Memphis, Tenn., as Carlos Bledsoe, but changed his name after converting to Islam.
He is charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder in the June 2009 shootings that killed Army Pvt. William Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. The letter, first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, focuses on Muhammad’s argument that his case should be tried in federal court.
Muhammad has told the AP in telephone interviews from jail that the shooting was revenge for American killings of Muslims and that he does not believe he is guilty.