NRI life in prison by Jury for university shooting
Cleveland, Jan 22, 2005
A jury Sunday recommended life in prison without
parole for a former graduate student who fatally shot
another student and wounded two others during a seven-hour
siege inside Case Western Reserve University's business
NRI, Biswanath Halder was convicted last month of
killing Norman Wallace during the 2003 shooting spree
He could have received the death penalty, but the
jury rejected the ultimate sentence during two days
of deliberations. Judge Peggy Foley Jones, who must
formally decide Halder's fate, put off sentencing
until Feb. 17.
Psychologists had testified that Halder is sane but
delusional, and his attorneys argued that the 65-year-old's
life should be spared because he is mentally ill.
Defense attorneys acknowledged he was the gunman.
"We're just happy they (the jury) fell on the
side of giving him life," defense attorney Kevin
Cafferkey said. "But he will serve the rest of
life in prison, and will never, ever leave a jail
cell and I feel comfortable with that."
Halder, originally from Calcutta, India, attacked
the school armed with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition
because he believed a school computer lab employee
hacked into his Web site devoted to helping fellow
India natives form businesses, prosecutors say.
"Biswanath Halder's offenses were horrific and
certainly deserving of the death penalty," said
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason. "While
we are disappointed that Mr. Halder will not receive
the maximum punishment for his deadly siege, we hope
that his victims and their families can take some
comfort in the fact that Mr. Halder will never again
see the light of day."
Halder didn't testify during the trial. But on Saturday,
as Jones had begun giving the jurors sentencing instructions,
he stood up and said he wanted to speak to the judge.
In a handwritten letter, Halder told the judge he
had wanted to take the stand but his lawyers objected.
Jones refused the request, saying he had given her
the letter too late in the trial.
"I wanted to talk to the media since June 2003,"
Halder persisted. "The people who control me
have prevented me from doing so."
The former graduate student's delusions included
believing that he would earn billions of dollars from
his Web site and help change the world, his attorneys
During the trial, jurors watched video showing Halder
in an Army helmet and flak jacket walk up a university
hallway and shoot to death Wallace, who was chatting
with a few others about basketball and their summer
Wallace, 30, was a promising student and president
of the university's Black MBA Student Association.
The video also showed the gunman kicking and hammering
in a glass door to get in the building and people
running to escape or to find cover in classrooms,
offices and computer labs.
Faculty and staff hid in terror in the Peter B. Lewis
Building, not knowing where the gunman was lurking.
The search was complicated by the building's unusual
design of curvy floors and walls. Halder was captured
by a police SWAT team on the fifth floor.
Halder was convicted of 196 counts, including aggravated
murder, attempted murder, aggravated burglary and
During the trial, Halder's attorneys portrayed him
as obsessed with trying to determine who hacked into
his Web site and deleted the files.
Halder was found competent before his trial, but
the judge ruled his attorneys could not argue that
he is mentally ill as a defense. They were allowed
to make that argument during the sentencing phase.
Cleveland, Ohio, May 17, 2005
NRI, Biswanath Halder, 62, has been convicted of
killing a student in a seven-hour shooting rampage
at the Case Reserve Western University, Cleveland,
Ohio in May 2003. He had military training with the
A prankster hacked into his computer and erased it
all. Everything I had was destroyed, he
said. Halders outrage turned into a blizzard
of complaints, from the courts to the FBI and Capitol
Hill. He blamed the university and a computer lab
assistant named Shawn Miller - the evil man,
as Halder called him. His attorneys did not contest
that their client was the gunman; rather they painted
a picture of him as being obsessed because someone
erased hundreds of his computer files.
Halder sued Miller, but a judge dismissed the case.
An appeals court refused to review it. On May of 2003.
Biswanath Halder, armed with two handguns, allegedly
killed Norman Wallace, a 30-year-old graduate student
who had a summer internship at a consulting firm.
The two injured people a 32-year-old man shot
in the buttocks and a 46-year-old woman shot in her
Halder was trying to protect mankind
from a cyber criminal-Link. Biswanath Halders
Web site was his life. Working at least eight hours
a day year-round in the Case Western Reserve University
computer lab, he painstakingly compiled the digital
equivalent of a bulging file cabinet and hope chest,
stuffed with business plans and pleas for social justice.
The resume Halder posts on his Web site includes
service in the Indian army, as well as experience
in computer programming, designing electrical measuring
equipment in Germany, real estate and financial planning.
Halder, who graduated from Case Western in 1999 with
a master's degree in business administration.
Halder lived in the heart of Cleveland's Little Italy
neighborhood about a half mile from campus. Some neighbors
described him as an unfriendly man who would walk
down the middle of the road apparently to avoid talking