Muhammad called The Associated Press twice this week to discuss the shooting death of Pvt. William Andrew Long. Little Rock District Judge Alice Lightle had heard enough. She sent a letter to the Pulaski County jail referencing a gag order she previously issued blocking those involved in the case from talking to reporters. The judge said the order applied to Muhammad as well.
"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," Lightle wrote.
John Rehrauer, a spokesman for the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, said deputies immediately restricted Muhammad's access to the jail's telephones.
Muhammad, 23, twice called the AP collect from the lockup to discuss the June 1 shooting that killed Long and wounded another soldier. In those conversations, Muhammad, a Muslim convert, said he didn't consider the killing a murder because U.S. military action in the Middle East made the killing justified.
"Yes, I did tell the police upon my arrest that this was an act of retaliation, and not a reaction on the soldiers personally," Muhammad said Tuesday. He called the shooting "a act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military."
Though Muhammad said he told FBI agents he knew of no forthcoming attacks, he said the shooting was "definitely not the end of it."
Long, 23, of Conway had just completed basic training and was volunteering at the suburban Little Rock recruiting office before starting an assignment in South Korea.
Muhammad was arrested on a capital murder charge in state court and could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted. Federal prosecutors have yet to say whether they'll file charges.