April 01, 2014
Kassim Alhimidi's Murder Trial Begins
Kassim's wife's murder was at first played in the press as an act of violence inspired by Islamophobia
EL CAJON, Calif. – The killing of Kassim Alhimidi's Iraqi wife in the city of El Cajon drew international attention after their daughter said she found a note by her mother's bludgeoned body that read: "Go back to your country, you terrorist."later on its gotten less play in the press.
But police say the evidence points to Alhimidi as the only suspect for the murder of 32-year-old Shaima Alawadi.
His trial gets into full swing Tuesday when prosecutors and his attorney are scheduled to present their arguments to San Diego Superior Court in El Cajon.
Defense Attorney Richard Berkon Jr. says no blood was found on Alhimidi and his client does not speak English, raising doubts he planted the note.
Police say lab tests showed the note was a photocopy and divorce documents were found in Alawadi's car.
An Iraqi man accused of killing his Muslim wife in their California home in what initially appeared to be a hate crime lied to police about his whereabouts on that fateful day and his troubled marriage, prosecutors say.
But defense lawyers say Kassim Alhimidi, who does not speak English, initially gave police contradictory statements about his marriage because he was distraught about Shaima Alawadi's fatal beating and was afraid he could be accused of a crime he didn't commit. They pointed out that no blood, fingerprints or DNA has been found that links him to the murder, and his wife, who was contemplating divorce, also had problems with their teenage daughter, who was dating a Christian boy.
Alhimidi sobbed loudly during the opening of his trial Tuesday when the prosecution played a recording of the 911 call from their eldest daughter on March 21, 2012, to report that she had found her mother in a pool of blood in their kitchen area. At one point, Alhimidi dropped his head to the table, shaking and crying out in Arabic. The judge halted the proceedings briefly and asked Alhimidi through an interpreter to use a cloth to muffle the sounds, so jurors could hear.