Jury deliberates in road rampage trial

Abdullah Shareef

March 12, 2010 3:35:35 PM PST
A jury has begun deliberations in the trial of a man accused in a road rampage case in which one person was killed and four others were injured.

The judge in the trial of 31-year-old Abdullah El-Amin Shareef gave jurors instructions Friday morning before they begin their deliberations.

Shareef is accused of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges related to a 40-mile rampage between Fayetteville and Wake County.

The prosecution and defense concluded their closing arguments on Thursday. Much of the case centers around Shareef's mental condition at the time of the crimes.

During his closing arguments, defense attorney Carl Ivarsson told jurors the case wasn't about what happened, but about why it happened. Iverson admits his client committed most of the acts in the 11 charges against him, but contends he did them because he was mentally ill.

"He was psychotic. He was having a severe psychotic episode. He was full blown psychosis because he was suffering from severe, untreated, schizophrenia," said Ivarsson.

Shareef is accused of running down five people. Lonel Bass of linden was killed in the rampage that ran through Cumberland, Harnett, and Wake Counties.

Assistant District Attorney Rita Cox says through its evidence, the state has proven Shareef wasn't out of his mind at the time of the crimes.

"Was the defendant insane at the time? Did he understand? Did he have a mental defect? … Did he understand the nature and the consequences of his act? And from everything we showed you, he did," she said.

Shareef has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder charges. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

An attempted first-degree murder charge against Shareef is pending in Harnett County.

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