Imam Zulqarnain Abu-Shahid, a Muslim imam employed by the city Corrections Department, was arrested in lower Manhattan yesterday for attempting to bring a pair of scissors and three razor-sharp box-cutting blades into the Manhattan Detention Complex. The items were noted in his bag during an X-ray scan, and this discovery led to another one: that Abu-Shahid was an ex-con who had been convicted of murdering an innocent bystander during a supermarket robbery in 1976. His name back then was Paul Pitts, and his trial — which ended with him sentenced to fourteen years in state prison — was at the time the longest criminal trial to have taken place in the history of the State Supreme Court system. Defense attorneys say that Abu-Shahid did not know the knives were in his bag.
Photo: Tomothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
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