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Roque Apologies for Death of Sikh

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    Former Alabama man sentenced to death apologizes in Sikh killing

    The Associated Press
    10/15/03 9:47 AM

    PHOENIX (AP) -- A former Alabama man sentenced to death for the murder of an Indian immigrant after the Sept. 11 attacks publicly apologized for his crimes in a Maricopa County Superior Courtroom.

    Frank Silva Roque, 44, formerly of Harvest, Ala., was sentenced to death last week for first-degree murder in the death of Balbir Singh Sodhi.

    On Tuesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Aceto sentenced Roque to an additional 36 years in prison on three counts of drive-by shooting, one count of attempted murder and one count of endangerment.

    Roque was convicted of killing Sodhi, a Mesa gas station owner whom prosecutors said was targeted because Roque thought Sodhi was Arab. Sodhi wore a turban and beard as part of his Sikh faith.

    Roque, who sat motionless during his seven-week trial, appeared more animated Tuesday when Aceto asked him if he had any comment during the sentencing hearing.

    "Just that I'm sorry that all this happened," Roque said.

    After shooting Sodhi, Roque shot at another gas station where the clerk was a man of Lebanese descent, and shot at the home of an Afghan family. They were not injured.

    Aceto's sentence would keep Roque behind bars if his death sentence was overturned on appeal.

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