Tuesday, January 24, 2006 IANS
NEW YORK: An Indian American was spared the death penalty but sentenced to life for the 2003 killing of a student in a shooting rampage at Ohio university.
A jury deliberating over two days on whether to recommend the death penalty for Biswanath Halder, convicted in the internationally publicised case that took place on the Case Western University campus, spared asked that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The jury made its recommendation on January 20 in the court of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in Ohio. The case was presided over by Judge Peggy Foley Jones.
Halder, 65, killed graduate student Norman Wallace when, armed with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, he walked into the business school building on May 9, 2003. He held several people hostage in the building for hours. Two people were injured.
Halder’s attorneys argued the 65-year-old’s life should be spared because he was mentally ill. A psychologist testified that Halder was sane but delusional.
Halder, originally from Kolkata in India, believed a Case Western computer lab employee hacked into his web site devoted to helping fellow Indians set up businesses.
The former graduate student’s delusions included believing that he would earn billions of dollars from the web site and help change the world, his attorneys said.
Students and faculty in the business school on the day of the siege saw a gunman dressed in body armour, a wig, and an army helmet shooting randomly. Halder was eventually captured by a police team.