A bailiff cleared the room of family members tensions rose.
  • A bailiff cleared the room of family members tensions rose.
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The courtroom erupted into shouting after Kassim Alhimidi, 49, was declared guilty of first-degree murder in the beating death of his wife two years ago.

This afternoon, April 17, judge William McGrath was confirming the verdict with jurors when the defendant’s eldest son, seated in the gallery, leaped to his feet and shouted, “This is bullshit!” and cursed the court and loudly continued in a stream of Arabic.

Jurors were hurriedly escorted out a door behind the judge, and it took every one of at least nine bailiffs in the room to remove overwrought family members who could not contain themselves.

Alhimidi’s eldest son was reportedly taken away in handcuffs.

The murdered woman, Shaima Alawadi, 32, was found in a pool of blood on the floor of her El Cajon home in March 2012. The victim’s mother was in the courtroom today, and when the newly convicted murderer began to shout “God knows that I am not the killer,” the victim’s mother arose and shook her fists and shouted that he should get worse. The exchange was in Arabic.

A court-provided Arabic interpreter explained the unruly back-and-forth to news reporters in the hallway after the courtroom was cleared. The interpreter also assisted the bereaved mother when she told news cameras that if they were in Iraq, the killer would be executed in the same way that he murdered her daughter.

Shaima Alawadi was killed by multiple blows to her skull with a blunt object, according to testimony during the two-week trial.

Prosecutor Kurt Mechals expressed gratitude to the jury, “They did exactly the right thing.” He also said, “My opinion is, everybody in the family knows this is the right verdict, even if they don’t want to believe it.”

Judge McGrath went back into session briefly, just long enough to set a sentencing date of May 15, in San Diego’s East County Superior Courthouse.

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shirleyberan April 17, 2014 @ 4:30 p.m.

I would think it was correct and done. Certain cultures think they are allowed to kill their property-wife. Others think aggression is appropriate behavior toward women. I've seen enough.


Eva Knott April 17, 2014 @ 5:40 p.m.

The tearful mother of the murder victim briefly spoke to news cameras after the verdict. With the help of the court-provided Arabic interpreter, the woman emphasized that she believed the jury's decision was "not a mistake." She also said that her daughter's sons are now living with her in Texas.


shirleyberan April 17, 2014 @ 6:06 p.m.

Thank- you Eva. You report on some tough customers.


Visduh April 17, 2014 @ 7:15 p.m.

A footnote to all this is something observed here in San Diego County, home to many Iraqi emigres of various ethnic backgrounds and religions is the penchant to scream/screech/shout/hurl invective, whenever faced with outcomes that don't satisfy. There have been many reports of routine police encounters with these people that degenerate into a screeching match, and arrest. So, the outbursts in the courtroom were probably to have been, if not expected, at least anticipated. I have a hunch the judge was not caught unprepared for the noise.

We all might wonder about a woman who had her daughter married to a much older man when the girl was twelve (as reported here separately.) Cultural diversity, or just plain abuse of women and girls? Object to the treatment, and your life can be forfeit. This is such a sad case, and the deputy DA had it right.

We might wonder if part of that culture is disbelief.


shirleyberan April 17, 2014 @ 10:09 p.m.

Visduh - our culture is in disbelief, they pretend they care. Thanks to a heartman like you.


Eva Knott June 23, 2014 @ 6:17 p.m.

This morning, Monday June 23, the convicted murderer was sentenced by the same judge who heard the trial. "Alhimidi was sentenced to 26 years to Life and he does not get ANY good time credit," his lawyer stated after the hearing. Criminal defense attorney Richard Berkon said that because Alhimidi was sentenced for murder, he must serve "every day" of the 26 years before he is eligible for parole. The Iraqi immigrant turned 50 years old this month. Berkon also commented: "The only thing I will say is that I don't believe Kassim killed his wife, his actions after his wife was killed speak to his innocence. I respect the jury system, but I think they got this one wrong."


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