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Ark. soldier death trial continues Monday

Monday, testimony continues in the capital murder trial of Abdulhakim Muhammad. Muhammad is accused of shooting two soldiers at an Army recruiting station in Little Rock two years ago. One of them, Private William Long, died.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Monday, testimony continues in the capital murder trial of Abdulhakim Muhammad. Muhammad is accused of shooting two soldiers at an Army recruiting station in Little Rock two years ago. One of them, Private William Long, died.

So far, the trial is moving faster than expected with a lot happening in its first five days.

Jury selection started Monday with attorneys seating seven jurors. Phillip Butler did not make the cut after telling prosecutors one of his family members knew Private Long.

"It's hard in a case like this to be unbiased, especially when you've already really formed an opinion," said Butler.

Before jury selection started, Muhammad tried to fire his attorneys. A judge ruled against that saying Muhammad would not have enough time to prepare his own defense.

Tuesday, jury selection wrapped up with more than twenty people getting sent home mostly for not believing in the death penalty. Since this is a capital murder case, they likely would not convict Muhammad who has repeatedly admitted to the shooting.

Wednesday, the jury heard opening statements and witness testimony from the soldier injured in the shooting, Private Quinton Ezeagwula, and Private Long's mother.

Thursday, jurors watched Muhammad's taped confessions as prosecutors finished presenting their case. In one video, Muhammad says he shot the soldiers in retaliation after watching a video about a Muslim woman being raped. After watching that video, Mohammad says he blacked out.

Mohammad's father did not want video of the F.B.I. questioning his son shown because the agent did not testify, but Melvin Bledsoe did not want to be interviewed.

"I'm not gonna tell you, ok?" Bledsoe said.

Prosecutors also showed jurors pictures of Long's body as the medical examiner said no one could have survived the four bullet wounds.

Friday, the defense started presenting its case saying Muhammad is psychotic. A forensic psychiatrist said Muhammad has delusions that make him think he's being persecuted because he's a Muslim.

Testimony ended abruptly, though, with the defense's top witness on the stand.

The judge did not say why, but it happened when prosecutors mentioned this wasn't the first defense psychiatrist to examine the defendant.

Judge Herbert Wright was seen in the hallway mouthing to our camera "don't film me" before ending the trial for the day.

The lead prosecutor said it was for housekeeping.

Attorneys for Muhammad have entered a plea of not guilty saying he is mentally ill. Muhammad denies this and prosecutors don't buy it either.
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