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Jury proposes life sentence for NRI

A jury in Ohio has recommended life in prison for Biswanath Halder for injuring students in a 7-hour siege.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 16:13 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

A jury in Ohio has recommended life in prison for a former Indian-American graduate, born in Kolkata, for killing a student and injuring two others during a 7-hour siege in Case Western Reserve Business School in Cleveland in 2003.

Sixty-five year old Biswanath Halder was recommended for life without parole by the jury after almost two days of deliberations yesterday.

A juror had insisted on handing out death sentence to Halder, but later relented and went along with the others. Eventually a unanimous verdict was reached.

Presiding judge Peggy Foley has accepted the verdict and the formal sentencing will be on February 17. The prosecution expressed 'satisfaction' at the decision reached by the jury.

"You cannot lay siege to a university for seven-and-a-half hours and not expect to receive some extreme penalty. We are satisfied with the jury's decision that he will never again see the light of day," said Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Rick Bell.

Halder's anger was sparked off after he lost a civil case against school computer lab employee Shawn Miller, who he believed had hacked into his Website devoted to helping Indians run businesses and destroyed his database. Miller was, however, not harmed during the incident.

The defense had mainly argued that Halder should not be awarded the death sentence as he was "mentally ill" and said it was relieved at his getting life imprisonment.

The jury last month found Halder guilty of 196 charges stemming from the May 9, 2003, spree. Judge Foley had earlier dismissed the charge of terrorism.

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 11:13 IST