John Griffin, a Black Muslim, must go to trail again in D.C. Superior Court for his alleged part in the massacre of seven Hanafi Muslims here in 1973.
This is the effect of a ruling by Judge Leonard Braman yesterday in which he dismissed Griffin's contention that to put him on trail again would place him in "double jeopardy" - being tried twice for the same offense - in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Sitting in a heavily guarded courtroom, Braman ordered that Griffin's new trial begin June 16, as originally scheduled.
Court officials said the security was a precautionary move because of the takeover last month of thre downtown Washington buildings by 12 Hanafis. One person was killed, several were injured and 134 were held hostage from March 9 to March 11.
The incidents last month apparently grew out of the 1973 massacre. Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, alleged leader of the March takeover, demanded during the sieges that those convicted of the 1973 killings be turned over to him for punishment.
All the victims of the Massacre were emmbers of Khaalis' family. Five of them were children.
Yesterday's heavy courtroom security also was prompted by the fact that there were reports of threats against Judge Braman during last month's incidents. Braman presided at the earlier massacre trials.
Griffin, 32, was found guilty with four other persons in the first of the so-called Hanafi trials, which begain in February, 1974. Amina Khaalis, the daughter of Hamaas Abdul Khaalis and the sole survivor of the massacre, identified him as the man who had taken her 14-month-old daughter, Khadyha, and killed her.
At the later trial of another Black Muslim, Ronald Harvey, Amina Khaalis identified Harvey as the man who had killed her child.
Because of this double identification by Amina Khaalis, Judge Braman ordered a new trial for Griffin. It began last September and ended early in October when Braman granted Griffin's request that a mistrial be declared.
The mistrial was based on the fact that Amina Khaalis, a prime prosecution witness, had to leave the trial for what she said were medical reasons before the defense could finish its cross-examination of her.
She refused to return to court. Dovey J. Roundtree, Griffin's defense attorney, asked that she be subpoenaed. When it was deemed necessary for Amina Khaalis to undergo a court-ordered medical examinationt to determine her fitness to continue as a witness, she refused.
The defense asked Braman to issue a bench warrant for her arrest. Braman asked prosecutors if they would execute such a warrant. They declined to do so.
In his ruling yesterday, Braman said the government refused to execute the arrest warrant because its "efforts . . . would be forcibly resisted by the (Khaalis) family and their followers; and (because of) policy and humanitarian reasons . . ."
"The government, having been informed that an entry into the Hanafi home to arrest Mrs. Khaalis would be forcibly resisted, reasoned that violence would be the inevitable byproduct of executing a bench warrant," Braman said in his ruling.
"Serious harm might come to Mrs. Khaalis, her family and the law enforcement officers sent to make the arrest," he said. "Recent events, with which we are all acquainted (the March takeovers), testify to the soundness of the government's prognosis."
In her argument yesterday, Round-tree asserted that the government had a duty to see that Amina Khaalis was under subpoena and present to finish her testimony. The failure to carry out this duty barred the government from bringing Griffin to trial again, she said.
She said the government had no evidence against Griffin except the testimony of Amina Khaalis.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry F. Schuelke III said the government had offered to strike all of Amina Khaalis's testimony and base its case on other evidence.
This offer left Griffin with the following choices: to let the case go forward on the assumption that the government had no other credible evidence and thus gain an acquittal, or to ask for a mistrial.
Because he asked for the mistrial himself, Braman ruled, Griffin lost his "double jeopardy" argument.
Griffin sat quietly throughout the hearing. In 1975, he was convicted in Philadelphia of murdering James H. Price, another Black Muslim defendant in the Hanafi case who had testified for the government before a grand jury but who later refused to testify at the various trials. Price and Griffin were in the same cellblock in the Holmesburg prison in Pennsylvania.