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Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in Alleged Bias Case

MESA, Ariz.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for a man charged with fatally shooting an Indian immigrant after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Frank Roque is accused of killing Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh, on Sept. 15 as Sodhi stood outside his convenience store in Mesa. Police also allege that Roque, a New York native, targeted other minorities following Sept. 11. Roque allegedly shot at a convenience store owned by a man from Lebanon. He also shot at the home occupied by a family from Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

Roque is charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of drive-by shooting and three counts of endangerment. Prosecutors said they decided to seek the death penalty because this case meets at least one of the 10 aggravating circumstances required by the state.

While prosecutors are calling this a hate crime, there is no such charge or additional punishment in Arizona that pertains to homicides, according to a spokesman for the District Attorney's office.
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