Larry Steckling 2:30 p.m., Feb. 21
Iraqi immigrant will answer murder charges
Death of wife was first suspected to be a hate crime
Kassim Irzoqi Alhimidi, 49, was ordered to answer murder and deadly weapon charges, at the end of a preliminary hearing on July 26, 2013.
His wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32, was found mortally wounded in their El Cajon home the morning of March 21, 2012. A prosecutor stated that no murder weapon has been recovered, but Alhimidi admitted throwing a “hammer” from his van the same morning that his wife was killed, according to testimony during a two-day hearing this past week.
There was a note found on the floor ten feet from the woman, the handwriting on it stated: This is my country go back to yours Terrorist.
The note was found by a paramedic who first responded to the scene, that medic said the emergency was first reported as a slip or fall. Kyle Kleinschmidt said he also noticed a sliding glass door at the back of the home was shattered.
Alhimidi’s private defense attorney, Richard Berkon, claimed there was “absolutely no forensic evidence” linking the defendant to the crime. He said investigators found “neither blood nor glass on Mister Alhimidi’s person, on his clothes, (or) in his car.”
The private defense attorney conceded, “There’s marital discord.” The couple’s daughter, now 18, testified that her mother had recently obtained divorce paperwork, and had shown those papers to her husband. The young woman said her father was “in denial” and that he “laughed.”
“While it is clear Mister Alhimidi did not want to divorce his wife, he wasn’t keeping her from going,” the defense attorney told a judge yesterday. Berkon claimed that the accused man “was amenable to separate, to her going to her family in Texas…”
Prosecutor Kurt Mechals suggested that the doomed woman was preparing to leave for Texas, that she planned to stay with her relatives there. Shaima Alawadi was going to travel on the upcoming Saturday, but was found the prior Wednesday morning with fatal head wounds.
Soon after his wife’s death, Kassim Alhimidi traveled to Iraq with the couple’s five children, he buried his wife there. (The eldest child said her parents brought her to the United States in 1994, when she was just months old.) Attorney Berkon pointed out, “He left the country….He was approached, he was offered to stay in Iraq….That speaks volumes about the man…. He didn’t have to come home.” Alhimidi and his children returned to the USA in about two weeks. The defense attorney asserted that these were “not the actions of a guilty man.”
Berkon addressed the suspicion that the apparent hate-crime-note (later determined to be a photocopy of a note that was found a week earlier on the family’s doorstep) could be a staged diversion. “Mister Alhimidi does not read nor write English…”
“The real killer is still out there,” attorney Berkon told the judge. “Let him go home to his children. And let’s get to the point of finding the real killer.”
San Diego Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis acknowledged that some of the defendant’s actions “don’t square with the consciousness of guilt.” But the judge found the “most persuasive evidence” to be prosecution’s video evidence which tracked Alhimidi’s distinctive red van “during the crucial period of time” when his wife was being attacked. Contrary to his statements to police, Alhimidi’s van was parked just around the corner from his home during that time, according to prosecutor Kurt Mechals.
Kassim Alhimidi is set to be formally re-arraigned on charges of murder and use of deadly weapon in San Diego’s East County courthouse on August 8, 2013.
More like this:
- Kassim Alhimidi deemed a murderer — April 17, 2014
- Who beat Shaima Alawadi to death? — April 17, 2014
- El Cajon murder case now with jury — April 15, 2014
- Daughter testified in murder case against her father today — July 25, 2013
- Iraqi immigrant pleads not guilty to killing wife — July 25, 2013