Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

January 11, 2013

Va. ex-Marine who shot at Pentagon gets 25 years

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A schizophrenic ex-Marine convicted of shooting at the Pentagon and other military targets has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Twenty-five-year-old Yonathan Melaku (meh-LAH-koo) of Alexandria pleaded guilty last year to a series of shootings in 2010, including at the Marine Corps museum in Quantico and military recruiting stations. No one was injured.

The plea deal called for a non-negotiable 25-year sentence. But Melaku got new lawyers who uncovered evidence he was mentally ill. Government doctors have now also diagnosed him as schizophrenic.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Melaku confirmed that he wanted to go forward with the plea deal, even though he was aware of a potential insanity defense. He risked an 85-year sentence if he passed on the plea deal.

 

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