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Biswanath Halder convicted on 196 counts

By Arthur J Pais in New York
Last updated on: December 17, 2005 05:46 IST
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Biswanath Halder, whose lawyers had earlier this week succeeded in throwing off charges of terrorism against him in a seven-hour shooting rampage at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, was on Friday convicted on all 196 counts.

Though the exclusion of the terrorism charge reduces the chances of Halder getting a death sentence, the jury still has an option of giving him death sentence or life imprisonment, his lawyers told

 Also read: Is Biswanath Halder insane

One person was killed and two wounded in the seven-hour-long shooting spree at University on May 9, 2003.

John Luskin, one of the two court-appointed lawyers, said that right from the start, their strategy was not to deny charges that Halder killed Wallace and wounded others but to prove that he had gone into a rage, after months of agonising over the failure of his lawsuit against Miller.

The lawyer said it took Judge Peggy Foley Jones more than two hours to read all the guilty verdicts.

Luskin had earlier argued before Judge Jones that Halder could not be called a terrorist under Ohio law, for he had not sought to kill and harm a large number of people.

However, Prosecutor Rick Bell asserted before the jury that it was clear from Halder's weapons and ammunition that the crime was premeditated.

The prosecution made the argument that Halder had gone to the university's business school with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition because he thought that a computer lab employee had hacked into his website that propagated leftist views favoring the developing countries.

In fact, Halder had told some people over a year ago that he wanted to avenge his defeat in court, Bell said.
The jury took just over a day to decide on the verdict.

The sentencing phase of the trial will begin on January 17 in Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court.

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Arthur J Pais in New York