Abdul Hakim Muhammad won't be making any more Pulaski County Jail calls to reporters.
District Judge Alice Lightle sent a letter to the sheriff's office before 8 a.m. this morning asking that the murder suspect no longer be allowed to use the jail phone except to call his lawyer.
Muhammad has made at least two collect calls on the jail phone this week to the Associated Press, despite Judge Lightle's gag order on parties in the case. He's claimed that he shot two soldiers, killing one, as retaliation for U.S. involvement in the Middle East. He's said the shootings were justified, not murder.
Muhammad is in administrative segregation. Prisoners in that unit are allowed to make phone calls, either from a day room during an hour break or on a phone that can be rolled to a cell, at their request. They must have a prepaid phone card or make collect calls, as Muhammad did, to reach the outside world, though inmates represented by public defenders may make free calls to them. No more in his case.
"We have carried out the judge's wishes," sheriff's spokesman John Rehrauer said.
The judge wrote to Sheriff Doc Holladay:
It has come to my attention through press accounts both written and televised that Mr. Abdul-Hakim Mujahid Muhammad has initiated telephone interviews to reporters over the last 2 days. This is in direct contravention of my order entered on June 8, 2009, a copy of which is attached. My order forbids the parties in this case from discussing or commenting on the case.
Since the defendant is in your care and custody, I request that phone privileges for the defendant be suspended with the exception of calls to his legal counsel. I ask for your cooperation. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. By copy of this letter I am notifying both the prosecutor and the defendant's attorney of this request.
Alice E. Lightle, district judge.