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8:30 a.m., March 17
There was a surprise witness and unexpected surveillance video presented today in a hearing for an Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his wife more than a year ago, in San Diego County.
Kassim Irzoqi Alhimidi, 49, is charged with the premeditated murder of his 32-year-old wife, Shaima Alawadi. The woman was found brutally beaten on her kitchen floor, and kept alive in hospital for three days before she passed on, March 24, 2012.
It created an international incident when a note was discovered ten feet from the woman’s bloody body, the handwriting read: This is my country go back to yours Terrorist.
The note was determined to be a photocopy of a note that had been found in the same family’s front yard one week earlier, according to El Cajon police detective Christopher Baldwin. The family lived at 564 Skyview Street in an eastern part of San Diego County, at that time.
Kassim Alhimidi and his five children went to Iraq to bury Shaima Alawadi, and after some weeks there, they returned to the United States.
Alhimidi gave a detailed account to police of his drive around East County the morning of March 21, during the timeframe in which his wife was brutally killed, presumably by a hateful intruder.
But Detective Baldwin gathered video from surveillance cameras located at the school on the street directly behind Alhimidi’s home; investigators now suggest that Alhimidi drove his distinctive red mini-van and parked there just around the corner, before getting out of his van. Video shows Alhimidi leaving the parked van and walking back towards his home, and then returning about an hour later and entering his van and then driving off, it is alleged.
A neighbor testified that he saw a man leaving Alhimidi’s home about 10:40 a.m., which contradicted Alhimidi’s statements to police, and fit nicely into prosecution’s timeline built around the video surveillance showing a man coming and going from the red van parked nearby.
Prosecutor Kurt Mechals has begun presenting cell phone evidence, which is expected to further detail Alhimidi’s movements that morning.
Alhimidi has been in custody since November 2012, and is held in lieu of $5 million bail, and pleads not guilty through private defense attorney Richard Berkon.
Testimony in this preliminary hearing will continue tomorrow morning, July 25, 2013, before the Honorable Judge Lantz Lewis, in San Diego’s East County Superior Courthouse.