2010 Pentagon Shooter Deemed Schizophrenic

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Yonathan Melaku

    The ex-Marine who fired shots at the Pentagon, Marine Corps museum and other military-related targets in 2010 has been classified as schizophrenic by government doctors, but prosecutors still want to enforce a plea deal that requires a 25-year prison sentence.

    Yonathan Melaku, 25, of Alexandria, pleaded guilty last year to firing shots at several military-related targets. No one was injured. He was caught months later, only after he was discovered trying to desecrate graves in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Part of the case against Melaku was a video he recorded of himself during the second Marine museum shooting. Melaku can be seen firing a handgun out of the passenger side window at the museum in the video. He can be heard saying in the recording, "That's a military building, and that's the building I'm going to be targeting. ... Last time I hit them, they turned off the lights for like four or five days."

    He struck a plea deal last year requiring a 25-year prison sentence. He admitted to five separate shootings from October to November of 2010: Two at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, at the Pentagon, at a Chantilly recruiting station and at a U.S. recruiting station in Woodbridge.

    After making the plea bargain, his family hired new attorneys who questioned Melaku's mental health.

    In court filings Friday, federal prosecutors in Alexandria said Melaku has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. They want him to serve his sentence in a prison hospital.