Man convicted in mistaken Arab shooting death

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — A man was convicted of murder Tuesday in the slaying of a turbaned, bearded Sikh who prosecutors said was gunned down four days after the Sept. 11 attacks because he was mistaken for an Arab.

The jury, which began deliberations late Monday, rejected Frank Silva Roque’s insanity claim.

Roque, 44, could get the death penalty.

He was also found guilty of attempted murder, drive-by shooting and endangerment for two more racially motivated attacks.

Roque fatally shot Indian immigrant Balbir Singh Sodhi in front of the gas station he owned on Sept. 15, 2001.

After killing Sodhi, Roque shot at another gas station, where the clerk was a man of Lebanese descent, and shot at the home of an Afghan family. No one else was hurt.

Roque’s attorneys argued that Roque was insane at the time of the shooting and that the crime was not racially motivated. A defense psychiatrist said Roque suffered from reactive psychosis and depression and could not tell right from wrong.

But prosecutor Vince Imbordino said Roque was motivated by anger and hatred following the terrorist attacks, not insanity. He noted that Roque had practiced shooting and reloading before killing Sodhi.

A court-appointed psychiatrist testified that Roque probably did hear voices but could understand the wrongfulness of his actions.

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Associated Press, USA
Sep. 30, 2003

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday October 1, 2003.
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