- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A trial began Monday for a taxi driver accused of shooting and seriously wounding an Alexandria police officer, even though the man has twice been found incompetent to participate in the proceeding.

Kashif Bashir, 29, of Woodbridge, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted capital murder and related counts stemming from the February 2013 shooting of Officer Peter Laboy. Laboy, a 46-year-old father of four, suffered critical injuries to the head that still affect him, but he has made a remarkable recovery.

Bashir’s trial by judge, not jury, comes as a surprise. He was declared incompetent for trial twice, and court filings indicate he’s being forced to take anti-psychotic medication to allow the proceeding to continue, The Washington Post reported, (https://wapo.st/1plDifR ).

A judge rejected a request from Bashir’s attorney to stop those medications during the trial.

At Monday’s trial, prosecutors began trying to prove that Bashir understood the consequences of his actions when he ambushed Laboy, a motorcycle officer who had pulled Bashir over while helping colleagues investigate a report about a man acting bizarrely at an Alexandria shop.

Bashir shot Laboy in the head before the officer got off his bike, and then sped away in his yellow cab before he crashed into a car in Fairfax County, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys don’t deny that Bashir shot Laboy, but are arguing that he did so in the middle of a psychotic episode. They’re hoping that emails sent by Bashir in the months before he shot Laboy will show that their client didn’t understand what he was doing.

Bashir sent emails to two news organizations saying someone was talking to him telepathically and trying to take over his body.

“I am not in control of my life anymore,” Bashir wrote. “It is driving me nuts, and I can’t take it any longer.”

Laboy has said that he hopes Bashir “gets convicted of something,” though his main focus is on improving his own health.

“The way I look at it is, somebody has it worse than me, and that’s him,” he said. “I been here … and this whole year that I’ve been going through this, he’s been in jail.”

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Information from: The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com


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