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Man kills afghan friend after 911 { April 2 2003 }

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April 2, 2003 -- A Queens man who decapitated his Afghan filmmaking partner and put his head in a freezer will claim temporary insanity - caused by witnessing the attack on the World Trade Center, his lawyer said at a pretrial hearing yesterday.
Independent film producer Nathan Powell is charged with killing and chopping up the body of Jawed Wassel on Oct. 3, 2001.

Nassau County prosecutor Fred Klein said Powell killed Wassel during a dispute over money, chopped him up and "put the victim's head in his freezer" before being caught trying to bury the dismembered body in Bethpage, L.I.

The two were making a movie called "Firedancer."

A sweaty and dirt-covered Powell was arrested after an alert Nassau County cop caught him near a wooded area trying to bury body parts of his victim. The cop pulled his gun when he noticed blood on the boxes containing the remains.

Powell later directed cops to his refrigerator freezer in his apartment in Long Island City, Queens, where they found the severed head.

The killer told police Wassel took a trip to Afghanistan the summer before Sept. 11 and later said the terror attack was America's "just deserts. "

Powell claimed he attacked Wassel after Wassel threatened to have Powell's family killed by the Taliban.

Powell told police that after he refused to tell Wassel where his wife and child were, Wassel threatened: "It does not matter because with one letter or phone call, you can have no family."

Powell told police he killed Wassel by beating him with a pool cue and stabbing him.

Defense lawyer Tom Liotti said Powell was suffering from posttraumatic stress Disorder after witnessing the fall of the Twin Towers and was convinced that Wassel was a Taliban member.

Jury selection is to begin Monday.

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