Muslim behind terror attack with SUV at UNC campus "thankful that trial will offer lesson on the will of Allah, the creator"
Iranian born UNC graduate says he planned to kill students by running them down with rented Jeep Cherokee
HILLSBOROUGH - A UNC Chapel Hill graduate who drove an SUV into a crowd of students last week said today that his trial will offer a lesson on "the will of Allah, the creator."
An Orange County judge set Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar's bail at $5.5 million and scheduled a hearing for March 16. The December 2005 UNC graduate plans to represent himself, though a public defender was appointed to help.
Taheri-azar, 22, appeared in county district court this morning, his first appearance since the incident that injured nine students at an outdoor campus hub called "The Pit." Taheri-azar, born in Iran but who classmates said attended South Mecklenburg High School, drove a rented Jeep Cherokee into a lunchtime crowd Friday.
Judge Patricia Devine asked if he had any questions at this morning's arraignment.
"I actually don't have any questions," said Taheri-azar, clad in a long-sleeve orange jumpsuit and leg shackles. "I am thankful you are going to hear this trial to learn more about the will of Allah, the creator."
After police arrested Taheri-azar Friday, he told them he acted to "avenge the American treatment of Muslims," an FBI spokesman in Washington said.
Six of the victims in Friday's attack were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries. Afterward, Taheri-azar called police and waited on a side street near campus. A police bomb squad also searched his apartment but would not say what was found.
Students were holding an anti-terrorism rally at "The Pit" at midday today.
(CHAPEL HILL) - The University of North Carolina graduate accused of running down nine people on campus appeared in court this morning, saying he was happy for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.
Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar is charged with driving a rented Jeep Cherokee on Friday through The Pit, the popular outdoor gathering spot on the campus in Chapel Hill. He says he did it to avenge the treatment of Muslims, and he didn't deny driving through the campus.
Taheri-azar was assigned a public defender, but as he left, he said, quote, "The truth is my lawyer." His bond remains at $5.5 million, and after the hearing, he was returned to Central Prison in Raleigh, where he was held over the weekend.
Asked by reporters if he was trying to kill people, Taheri-azar replied, "Yes."
Taheri-azar is charged with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of assault.