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Attorney Kills Five Non Whites
PITTSBURGH -- A jury convicted a former immigration lawyer
today of killing five people in a shooting spree last year in which he
drove through the Pittsburgh suburbs calmly selecting nonwhite
Richard Baumhammers, a 35-year-old non-practicing
attorney, also was convicted of eight counts of ethnic intimidation in the
rampage that left a sixth victim paralyzed. The jury took three hours to
convict him on five counts of first-degree murder in the April 28, 2000,
He displayed no emotion as the verdicts were read. His
father, Dr. Andrejs Baumhammers, said later that he would not comment on
Baumhammers, who is white, shot his Jewish neighbor,
two men from India, two Asian men and one black man as he drove his Jeep
through suburban Pittsburgh, stopping twice to vandalize
Prosecutors said he was trying to make a statement
against nonwhite immigration.
Baumhammers could receive the death
penalty. Jurors will return Thursday to start hearing testimony in the
penalty phase of the trial.
His attorneys admitted Baumhammers was
the shooter but said he had struggled with delusions for 10 years and did
not know his actions were wrong.
Witnesses said Baumhammers
appeared utterly calm as he shot victims at an Indian grocery store, a
Chinese restaurant and a karate studio.
that Baumhammers was tormented by the belief that the FBI and CIA were on
his tail, that the family maid was a spy and that his skin was peeling
"The courageous explanation is that the disease affected his
ability to tell right from wrong," defense attorney William Difenderfer
said in closing arguments Wednesday.
Prosecutor Edward Borkowski
acknowledged Baumhammers was mentally ill but said he was "controlled,
deliberate, calculating and selective" in picking victims, avoiding
attention and eluding police.
"After things don't work out, he
hides behind, "I'm not well,"' the prosecutor said. "You can't do that.
That is not legal insanity."
Borkowski said Baumhammers started
reading racist and anti-immigration literature in 1999 and saw himself
becoming as well-known as Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, Oklahoma City
bomber Timothy McVeigh and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
said it would have been difficult for someone who was highly delusional to
manage Baumhammers' many trips around the world before the
He had traveled to his parents' homeland of Latvia,
Japan, Thailand, and France with a monthly allowance from his parents of
$2,000 to $4,000 a month.
Copyright © 2001, The Associated Press