Lawyers for an Iraqi immigrant on trial for his wife’s killing tried to shift the blame to the couple’s daughter Monday in San Diego court.
After a weekend off, the trial of Kassim Al-Himidi continued Monday. The 49-year-old man who lived in El Cajon is accused of killing his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32, in 2012 after she asked him for a divorce.
But the trial’s focus shifted Monday as defense attorneys tried to cast suspicion on Al-Himidi’s daughter Fatima, 19.
Fatima, who took the stand for the third time, is not accused of murdering her mother, but defense attorneys started asking her tough questions about her possible role in the death.
The teen was asked if she ever thought about having her mother killed so she could continue dating her Chaldean boyfriend – a relationship forbidden by Alawadi.
She answered firmly “No.”
She also testified that she never talked to her boyfriend about “getting rid” of her mother so they could stay together.
Fatima said her mother was a higher priority in her life than her boyfriend. She told the court that she was so hurt that her relationship with a non-Muslim was causing her mother so much grief that she broke up with him.
While her parents did have a bad relationship, Fatima said, she did not think Al-Himidi was her mother’s killer at first. But now, she thinks her father is guilty, she said.
On March 21, 2012, Fatima found her mother brutally beaten and lying in a pool of blood in the family’s dining room at their rented El Cajon home.
Alawadi died a few days later from severe head trauma.
A threatening note found at the crime scene -- which read “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist” – initially led investigators to consider her killing a hate crime, sending shock waves across the country.
However, El Cajon police later determined the killing was an isolated incident of domestic violence, not a hate crime.
Soon after, Al-Himidi was arrested and charged with his wife’s death.
If convicted, he faces 26 years to life in prison.