- State declares test results for schools invalid (10/4/17)2
- College algebra to be removed from Southeast required curriculum (10/10/17)1
- Child-custody advocate: State law needs fix to provide parents with more equal custody (10/12/17)
- Past Rowdy the Redhawk mascot's identity revealed (10/15/17)
- Cancer will 'change your life, but it doesn't have to rule it' (10/8/17)
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- Police chief, council: Cape Girardeau faces growing gun violence (10/17/17)4
- Developer asks court to OK tax district board for improvements near Hobby Lobby (10/17/17)4
- Bills addressing equal child custody to be filed, legislators say (10/13/17)
- The last person to be laid to rest at Old Lorimier Cemetery: Mary Russell Fox (10/17/17)2
Defense tries to change image of American-born Taliban
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- From the Taliban soldier with unkempt hair to the courtroom defendant with a neat haircut and black-framed glasses, John Walker Lindh has physically transformed into the image his lawyers want a jury to see.
Since Lindh's return to the United States in January, a defense team of former prosecutors has tried to counter the government's portrait of a terrorist who hated America with that of a more sympathetic but misguided young man.
In recent weeks the lawyers have introduced evidence and arguments that Lindh sought refuge in Islam but wanted to escape the Taliban after being horrified by the Sept. 11 attacks.
They argue he was so afraid during his first encounter with U.S. Marines that he begged not to be killed after his surrender.
"What they're saying is, 'He's a clean-cut kid, just like your son, who maybe was misguided and got caught up in something he shouldn't have got caught up in,"' Joseph Aronica, a former prosecutor, said of the defense strategy. "Now he looks clean-cut."
Lindh's chances of acquittal, in a district with thousands of retired and active government workers, may well depend on the defense's success in changing his image.