- Two men seriously hurt in crash near Fruitland (9/21/16)3
- Perryville man arrested for alleged patronizing prostitution, harassment (9/23/16)6
- Eldorado Resorts to buy Isle of Capri Casinos (9/20/16)7
- Community helps Jackson family with two cases of muscular dystrophy (9/19/16)
- Video and evidence largely confirm trooper's claims in April traffic stop shooting (9/23/16)6
- Cape man may lose eye after shovel beating, police say (9/25/16)2
- Funeral procession of former Cape Girardeau police chief Henry H. Gerecke (9/22/16)17
- Cape man accused of attacking pregnant girlfriend (9/22/16)
- Show Me Center upgrades may allow facility to draw more elaborate shows (9/21/16)17
- Man convicted of Perryville convenience-store heist (9/21/16)
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.