Video confession shown in Ark. soldier death trial

Two hours after Abdulhakim Muhammad shot two soldiers in Little Rock, he sat, un-handcuffed in a police interrogation room.

Two hours after Abdulhakim Muhammad shot two soldiers in Little Rock, he sat, un-handcuffed in a police interrogation room.

He scratched his arms as he told investigators that he drove up to a military recruiting station and fired an assault rifle on the two young men wearing Army fatigues. One of them died. The other, wounded, still has shrapnel in his body.

"If there would have been more, I probably would have shot them, too," Muhammad said in one of two videos viewed Thursday by a jury that could sentence him to death.

Muhammad, 26, is charged with capital murder for killing Pvt. William Andrew Long and attempted capital murder for wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. Prosecutors rested their case Thursday. Muhammad's defense attorneys will pick up on Friday. They say Muhammad had mental problems at the time of the shooting in 2009; Muhammad and prosecutors say otherwise.

In one of the videos, Muhammad, born Carlos Bledsoe in Memphis, Tenn., said the shootings were justified by Islam, the religion he converted to in college.

"The Quran says fight those who fight you," he said.

Tommy Hudson, a Little Rock police detective, testified that the officers who questioned Muhammad did not keep him in handcuffs during the interrogation because he was wasn't causing any problems.

"I don't have anything against police," Muhammad said in the video. "It's just the Army."

In court Thursday, Ezeagwula wore the same type of Army fatigues he had worn the day of the shooting, even though Muhammad's father, Melvin Bledsoe, had asked the judge not to allow anyone to testify in uniform.

Muhammad looked down for a few moments while the videos were being played. Then, he spoke out for the second time during his trial this week when an investigator in the video pointed out that Long's mother witnessed him opening fire on her son.

"Objection," Muhammad said, raising his right index finger. "I didn't know she was there."

In the audience, Long's mother, Janet, sat next to her husband and a few other relatives. She stared straight ahead, chewing gum. On Wednesday, she testified about hearing gunshots ring out as she sat in the parking lot. She dropped her son off and didn't get to take him home.

Later, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright chided Muhammad.

"If you have an objection, you've got two attorneys," he said. "Communicate with them."

Prosecutors called a slew of witnesses to break down a murder in scientific terms and police jargon. At one point, deputy prosecutor John Johnson showed the jury a picture of the contents of Muhammad's trash can: an empty box of ammunition, a phone bill, some paperwork.

Four bullets ripped through Long's body, said medical examiner Charles Kokes, the prosecution's final witness of the day. Johnson, the deputy prosecutor, passed around photos of each wound.

One shot severed his spinal cord, rendering him paralyzed. Others tore through his liver, his stomach, his spleen.

The jurors, many of whom looked weary by day's end, leaned toward him to get a better view of the pictures of Long's corpse.

"In my opinion, these wounds were non-survivable under any circumstances," Kokes said.

In the audience, Long's father, Daris, looked down and twirled his thumbs.

___

Jeannie Nuss can be reached at http://twitter.com/jeannienuss

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