Jury deliberates CIA shooter's fate
Kasi could get death penalty
November 13, 1997
Web posted at: 10:16 p.m. EST (0316 GMT)
FAIRFAX, Virginia (CNN) -- A Virginia jury has begun deliberating whether a Pakistani national who went on a deadly shooting spree outside of CIA headquarters in 1993 should get the death penalty.
The jury which convicted Mir Aimal Kasi, 33, of two counts of murder on Monday began deliberating his sentence after testimony finished in the trial's penalty phase Thursday.
They deliberated about 45 minutes Thursday evening before retiring. Deliberations are scheduled to resume Friday.
The jury was sequestered Wednesday after four American oil workers were slain in Karachi, Pakistan. A group sympathetic to Kasi claimed responsibility and vowed more violence if he is sentenced to death, though U.S. officials have downplayed that claim, saying it cannot be substantiated.
In closing arguments to the jury, prosecutor Robert F. Horan argued for the death penalty, saying Kasi has shown no remorse. He said Kasi is proud of the politically-motivated slayings, which prosecutors say were committed as a protest of what Kasi saw as American mistreatment of Muslims.
"It's hard to find a man who is less unhappy about what he did than this man," Horan said. "He doesn't have an ounce of sorrow for having killed Frank Darling -- not an ounce."
Darling and Lansing Bennett, both CIA employees, were killed during a shooting rampage in which prosecutors said Kasi took an assault rifle and shot into cars during rush-hour traffic outside CIA headquarters in suburban Washington. Three others were wounded.
The jury is considering the death penalty for the capital murder of Darling. They already recommended a life sentence for the murder of Bennett, 20 years each for three counts of malicious wounding and 18 years for five firearms charges.
Kasi fled the country after the shootings and was later captured in Pakistan and returned to the United States to stand trial.
In rebuttal, Kasi's defense attorney, Judith Barger, argued that Kasi should get life in prison because he was brain damaged as a baby, which left him unable to appreciate his actions.
"The issue is not his choice. It is why he made it," Barger said. "It is because he has a disease -- brain damage -- that he has no control over."
Horan scoffed at that claim.
"If he's got an impaired ability to understand what he's done, why does he run? Why does he hide?" Horan asked.
After returning their guilty verdict Monday, the jury sent a note to Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge J. Howe Brown saying they feared for their safety. The judge ordered that jurors' identities be permanently sealed, and he ordered them sequestered to insulate them from media coverage of the Karachi killings.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Kasi told one of his brothers in the jail where he is being held that Islamic militants would take revenge for his prosecution. But outside court, another brother, Mir Weis Kasi decried "irresponsible" speculation abut the Karachi slayings, which he condemned.
Reuters contributed to this report.