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Courtroom erupts after Iraqi man found guilty of killing wife

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EL CAJON, Calif. – Screaming filled an El Cajon courtroom Thursday after an Iraqi immigrant was convicted of beating his wife to death.

People who knew the defendant, 49-year-old Kassim Alhimidi, were outraged and yelled profanities causing court security to forcible escort them out of the courtroom. Alhimidi shouted back at them.

Jurors deliberated about a day and a half before finding Alhimidi guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Shaima Alawadi, a mother of five.

Kassim-in-court

Kassim Alhimidi screams out after judge confirms the jury’s guilty verdict.

According to a prosecutor, Alhimidi was upset that his wife wanted a divorce, killed her by hitting her at least six times in the head with a blunt object as she sat at a computer in their El Cajon home.

The defendant’s attorney said his client loved his spouse and had no motive to kill her.

The defendant said he was out for a drive when his wife was killed, but surveillance video taken from a nearby school showed his van and a dark-clothed person coming and going in the area of the family home on Skyview Drive around the time the victim was attacked, the prosecutor told jurors.

The 32-year-old mother had told relatives she “couldn’t stand” the defendant and had taken out divorce papers, Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said.

The couple’s then-17-year-old daughter, Fatima, told police she was upstairs when she heard a “squeal,” then later what sounded like a broken plate downstairs around 11 a.m. the day her mother was attacked. A pane from a sliding glass door had been broken from the inside, Mechals said.

Fatima — who had stayed home from school — thought her mother had fallen, but paramedics first on the scene said blood and other evidence was inconsistent with a fall.

Shaima-Alawadi

Shaima Alawadi was beaten to death in her El Cajon home in March 2012.

A photocopied note found about eight to 10 feet from the victim read, “This is my country. Go back to yours, terrorist,” leading investigators to initially believe Alawadi’s killing may have been a hate crime, Mechals said.

Fatima had been at odds with her Muslim parents for dating a Chaldean, but she had no motive to kill her mother, according to Mechals.

“It is unreasonable to think she (Fatima) had anything to do with it,” the prosecutor told the jury.

After his wife was taken to the hospital, Alhimidi asked relatives “what do you think will happen if she wakes up and says I hit her?” Mechals said.

Defense attorney Richard Berkon Jr. told the jury that Alhimidi did not kill his wife and loved her “with every fiber of his being.”

Berkon said his client had no motive to kill his spouse and in fact wanted to meet with her family to talk about the possible divorce.

The couple’s children said they never saw their father act violently toward their mother, Berkon said.

Alhimidi and his wife had separated once before, in 2004-2005, but got back together, the attorney said.

Police questioned the defendant for more than seven months before getting an unsolicited call in November 2012 from Fatima saying “My dad did it.” Alhimidi was arrested the next day.

13 comments

  • dailydebacle

    People who knew the defendant were "outraged" and screamed profanities? How about arresting them for contempt. I'm outraged! Otherwise, justice has prevailed. Macho wife beater won't need the headset and translator where he's going. Adios Creep!

  • thechurchofchrismartin

    God forgive me but those Arab men are pigs! One of them used to beat my friend & called his teen step-daughter a "slut." I told his poor wife that we are in America now & here men are not allowed to do that & it was time for a divorce. Next time I came over to drop my kid off for baby-istting, the creep husband chased me around with a knife! Go to La Jolla Shores in the summer and the fat, blubbery, hairy Arab husbands are enjoying a swim in the ocean while their wives are covered up head-to-toe in the sweltering heat. The closest to an animal a human can be is an (unenlightened) Arab man!

  • soso

    If this happened in Iraq,he would have been a free man,all he needed to say that she talked back and i didn't like it,so i killed her, To most Arab men women are thier property,

      • soso

        they love to live in America, but with their own set of rules! they have so much ego,(most) he really thought he could get away with it.

  • John

    The hate some of you display is sickening, and to the woman that called all Arabs Pigs it says a lot about you than about them. You mean to tell me husbands don't kill their wives in other cultures, how about here in the US how many in prison for the same crime? You don't hear people saying all Americans men are Pigs or generalize. It's pure hate, get some help people.

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