Tin­ley Park man charged with killing wife

Re­peat­edly hit her with a metal bar, pros­e­cu­tors say

Daily Southtown - - NEWS - By Ali­cia Fab­bre Ali­cia Fab­bre is a free­lance re­porter for the Daily South­town.

Ba­haa Sam ar­gued with his wife about her go­ing to visit their daugh­ter in the hos­pi­tal be­fore he al­legedly blud­geoned his mate to death in their front yard with a weight lift­ing bar, a Will County pros­e­cu­tor told ju­rors dur­ing open­ing ar­gu­ments Wed­nes­day.

Sam, 52, tried to block his wife, Ner­meen, from leav­ing their Tin­ley Park home on Dec. 19, 2012. When she fought her way past him, he grabbed the weight lift­ing bar and fol­lowed her out­side where he re­peat­edly hit her with the bar and left her life­less body lay­ing in the front yard un­der a tree, Will County As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Tom Slazyk told ju­rors.

Her body was dis­cov­ered by a Tin­ley Park em­ployee driv­ing past the cou­ple’s home.

Sam faces two counts of first de­gree mur­der for his wife’s death. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison if con­victed.

De­fense at­tor­ney Neil Pa­tel didn’t dis­pute what hap­pened, but told ju­rors Sam suf­fered men­tal ill­ness and that he planned to show ju­rors Sam meets the cri­te­ria for be­ing de­clared not guilty by rea­son of in­san­ity.

“We are not sug­gest­ing he didn’t do this,” Pa­tel said. “We are sug­gest­ing that there is a rea­son why.”

Two of Sam’s four chil­dren tes­ti­fied Tues­day. One child re­called be­ing home watch­ing tele­vi­sion when his par­ents started ar­gu­ing. The child told ju­rors he saw his fa­ther run after his mother when she left the home and hit her with the weight lift­ing bar.

”She fell,” the child told ju­rors. “And he started hit­ting her.”

Sam cov­ered his face and sobbed as his chil­dren tes­ti­fied.

In a video­taped state­ment to po­lice, which also was played for ju­rors Wed­nes­day, Sam ad­mit­ted to hit­ting his wife once or twice with the bar and re­peat­edly asked how she was do­ing and if he could see his chil­dren.

Dur­ing open­ing ar­gu­ments, Slazyk ar­gued that Sam was hav­ing trou­ble ad­just­ing to life in a new coun­try. Sam, who was a teacher in Egypt, man­aged a restau­rant but even­tu­ally was de­moted and lost his job and strug­gled to find em­ploy­ment. His wife worked and would ask him about get­ting a job, Slazyk said.

The morn­ing they ar­gued, Sam tried to al­legedly block his wife from leav­ing the home. She al­legedly bit his hands and ran out­side; leav­ing Sam “livid.”

“He couldn’t take it any­more ... her at­ti­tude,” Slazyk ar­gued. “And he killed her.”

Pa­tel, how­ever, noted that Sam was strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness and had sought help. He had vis­ited doc­tors at a lo­cal quick care and Loy­ola Hos­pi­tal. Pa­tel said med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als de­scribed him as “dis­ori­en­tated, ag­i­tated and not eat­ing well.” A priest at his church, who also was a doc­tor, told Sam “some­thing was wrong with your brain and you. need help,” Pa­tel said. But Sam would chalk it up to stress and didn’t fol­low treat­ment plans.

Tes­ti­mony is ex­pected to con­tinue Thurs­day.


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