Husband of slain Iraqi woman gets 26 years to life
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.
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.