LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A Muslim convert who was under federal investigation pleaded not guilty yesterday in what police called a likely "political and religious" attack that killed a young soldier at a military recruiting center.
Abdulhakim Muhammad, 23, of Little Rock, was charged in Monday's death of Pvt. William Long, 23, of Conway, outside an Army-Navy Career Center. Muhammad was ordered held without bail on a capital murder charge.
A prosecutor said that Muhammad admitted shooting Long and another soldier "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past."
An FBI-led joint terrorism task force based in the southern United States has been investigating Muhammad since he returned to the United States from Yemen, a law-enforcement official said.
The suspect had been jailed in Yemen at some point for using a Somali passport, the official said.
Police Chief Stuart Thomas said that Muhammad, previously known as Carlos Bledsoe, was a convert to Islam and was not part of any broader scheme to attack the American military.