A judge has issued a gag order in the capital murder case against the man accused of killing one soldier and wounding another at a military recruiting office in Arkansas.
Judge Alice Lightle issued the order Monday after prosecutors requested it to block court officials and police from discussing the case.
Jim Hensley, attorney for suspect Abdulhakim Muhammad, said last week his client was influenced by hardened terrorists with whom he was jailed in Yemen.
Muhammad allegedly wanted to kill as many soldiers as he could because of harm he believed the military has done to Muslims.
Killed at the west Little Rock office was Army Pvt. William Long of Conway, who had just completed basic training and never saw combat.
Hensley says Muhammed told him he was working with children in Yemen and many of them were refugees from Afghanistan.
“Some of them are missing arms and some of them are terribly disfigured,” Hensley says.
Muhammed told his lawyer that he blamed the U.S. military for the children’s suffering. Muhammed also said he met Afghan women who claimed to have been raped by U.S. soldiers. This also clearly rankled him, Hensley says.
There is some debate over why, exactly, Muhammed ended up behind bars in Yemen. His parents say he told them that he was in for visa violations. Law enforcement officials said it was more than that, but declined to be specific. What is certain is that prison added to the disillusionment Muhammed was already feeling toward the U.S.
“For whatever reason, he winds up in a prison in Yemen around people who certainly don’t appreciate America,” Hensley says. “And they start telling him, ‘Look what you have seen; look what’s going on.’ And all this stuff weighs heavy on a young man, and he wants to do something.”