Taheri-Azar sentenced to more than 20 years

August 26, 2008 10:42:18 AM PDT
A judge sentenced the former UNC student who targeted fellow students while behind the wheel of a SUV to at least 26 years in prison.

Mohammed Taheri-Azar was sentenced for his rampage through the Pit at UNC in March 2006.

He will serve a consecutive sentence of 26 to 33 years in prison.

He is convicted of five counts of attempted murder, in addition to four counts of attempted murder. He will serve his time consecutively.

Authorities said Taheri-Azar was driving an SUV between 10 mph and 30 mph when he drove onto campus and went through the outdoor hangout known as the Pit. He had rented the vehicle a day earlier.

He waited in his vehicle for police for about 15 minutes and told them he was the man they were looking for.

Six people , including five students and a visiting lecturer were injured in the incident.

Tuesday the judge lectured Taheri-Azar his about motive, and about using "Americans as punching bags" for acts of violence. The judge referenced 9/11 multiple times.

"To do this to people who haven't done anything to you and to just drive an SUV through a crowd of people and putting their lives in jeopardy is beyond me," the judge said. "None of these people are dead, but it's not because of your kindness."

Taheri-Azar nodded in agreement as the judge told him, "If you're anything like the rest of us, there will come a time in your life when you regret this."

Taheri-Azar declined to say anything when given the opportunity.

The judge then wished him good luck.

Taheri-Azar previously admitted guilt on nine counts of attempted murder.

"We structured it this way so we could be sure that this happened before we asked victims to come into court to testify," Orange County D.A. Jim Woodall said.

Witnesses and Taheri-Azar's sister testified during Tuesday's proceedings.


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