Hus­band of slain Iraqi woman gets 26 years to life

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

EL CA­JON, Cal­i­for­nia (AP) — A Cal­i­for­nia judge sen­tenced an Iraqi im­mi­grant Mon­day to 26 years-to-life in prison for his wife’s fa­tal beat­ing — an at­tack that ini­tially drew in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion when au­thor­i­ties be­lieved it was a hate crime.

Kas­sim Al­himidi, 50, en­tered the court­room bound and sur­rounded by deputies be­cause of his pre­vi­ous out­bursts that re­peat­edly dis­rupted his emo­tional trial in San Diego County Su­pe­rior Court.

On Mon­day, he yelled out in English “I swear I am not guilty!” and then shouted in Ara­bic to his son, be­fore the judge or­dered the de­fen­dant to be briefly re­moved from court­room.

When Al­himidi re­turned min­utes later, he blew kisses to his 17-year-old son, Mo­hammed, and then sobbed as the teen told the court: “I just ba­si­cally lost both my par­ents.”

The cou­ple’s old­est daugh­ter, Fa­tima, found Shaima Alawadi, 32, in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of their home in 2012 in El Ca­jon, a San Diego sub­urb that is home to the sec­ond-largest Iraqi pop­u­la­tion in the United States.

She died at a hospi­tal two days later af­ter suf­fer­ing mul­ti­ple frac­tures to her skull.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors ini­tially be­lieved the killing was a hate crime be­cause of a note found af­ter the beat­ing near the de­vout Mus­lim mother of five who wore a hi­jab. It read: “This is my coun­try, go back to yours, you ter­ror­ist.”

The vic­tim and her Shi­ite Mus­lim fam­ily left Iraq in the early 1990s af­ter a failed Shi­ite up­ris­ing, liv­ing in Saudi Ara­bian refugee camps be­fore com­ing to the United States.

AP Photo/gre­gory Bull, File

FILE - In this March 27,2012 file photo, Kas­sim Al­himidi, right, speaks along­side his son, Mo­hammed Al­himidi, dur­ing a me­mo­rial for his wife, Shaima Alawadi, at a mosque in Lake­side, Calif. Al­himidi Al­himidi was sen­tenced Mon­day, June 23, 2014 in San Diego County Su­pe­rior Court to 25 years to life in prison for his wife’s fa­tal beat­ing, which ini­tially drew in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion when au­thor­i­ties be­lieved it was a hate crime.

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