ORLANDO, Florida. – The Orlando nightclub shooter intended to attack Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex by hiding a weapon in a baby stroller, but was chased by the police and instead chose the gay club as its purpose, the public prosecution service said Wednesday.
Prosecutors revealed details during their closing arguments in the trial of Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Salman, 31, is accused of helping her husband in the attack, which killed 49 people in 2016. She is charged with obstruction and the provision of material support to a terrorist organization and faces up to life in prison, if convicted.
“The suspect steps need not be equal to her husband,” Assistant district Attorney of the V. S. Sara Sweeney told jurors.
Defense attorneys described Salman as a simple woman with a low IQ, who was abused by her husband, and who didn’t know of his plans, because he’s hidden part of his life from her.
Lawyer Charles Swift said that there was no way Salman knew that Mateen an attack of Pulse, because he does not know that he had an attack of the disco until that evening, after he went to the complex Disney Springs.
“It is a terrible, random, senseless killing by a monster,” Swift said. “But it was not pre-planned. The importance of this case is that if he did not know, she couldn’t know.”
Jurors were expected to begin deliberations later Wednesday.
He said Salman’s confession was forced, and she signed because she was tired and feared the loss of her son.
The statement said in part that “in the last two years, Omar talked to me about Jihad.” Swift said Salman was not an extremist, and therefore not capable of such a discussion.
“She still looks at Hello Kitty and novels,” he said.
Prosecutors said Salman and Mateen had visited Disney in the days before the attack.
Sweeney showed surveillance video of the Disney Springs complex that caught Mateen walk near the House of Blues club in the hours before the Pulse attack. He looks behind him to police officers in the area before deciding to leave.
“He had to choose a new goal,” she said.
Sweeney said Salman “knowingly engaged in misleading conduct” when she spoke to the FBI in the hours after the attack.
Prosecutors said she claimed that her husband made no use of the internet in their home, but he did. They told the researchers that Mateen had disabled his Facebook account in 2013, but the researchers found that he has an account up until the month of the recording, and was friends with his wife. She said that her husband had a gun when he was three, and that he was not radicalized while prosecutors said he spent time watching beheading videos and looking to the Islamic State group sites.
Mateen, who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, was killed by police in the hours after the Pulse, shoot.
Sweeney also said that Mateen had bought a pram and pop to Walmart on June 11 — the day before the attack and had a plan to hide a weapon in the stroller while going to Disney.
Swift took the jury through the hours of Salman’s life for the attack. She called a friend and her uncle in California, says that she is coming to visit and that Mateen would them.
She talked with her in-laws, eating at Applebee’s and sms’ Mateen. He didn’t respond. They then went on Facebook, read a book, and then a text message Mateen.
“You know you work tomorrow,” she writes.
He replied, “You know what happened?”
She wrote, “What happened?”
Then he sent his last text: “I love you sweetheart.”
Swift said: “A person who knows what happened in this, and one person not.”