A murder case once touted as a hate crime, and a Muslim Trayvon Martin, ended with dramatic courtroom outbursts in El Cajon, Cal. late Thursday.
The victim’s husband, Kassim Alhimidi, was convicted of bludgeoning his wife Shaima Alawadi to death inside their home. Alhimidi, who wept loudly throughout his trial, spoke loudly in Arabic after wagging his finger at the jury, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
Then, in a sign of how the case divided the family, Alawadi’s mother screamed at Alhimidi, “you killed my daughter,” while one of his teenage sons cursed about the verdict before being removed from the courtroom.
“This is bulls—!” This is f—ing bulls—!” he said. “My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly.”
Alawadi was found in a pool of blood in her home. Investigators say she was struck in the head six times with a blunt object. A note found near her called the family terrorists and said they should leave the country. That prompted speculation that Alawadi was attacked because she was a Muslim woman who wore a hijab.
She died three days later. At the hospital, prosecutors said, Alhimidi touched his wife and asked for forgiveness. He told a relative that if she recovered, she might say he was the one who attacked her.
But the investigation uncovered a family in turmoil. Alawadi had obtained divorce papers and talked of moving out of state to live with her sister.
Through an attorney, the Alhimidi children issued a statement which offered a unified front. “We agree with the jury’s decision and although we love our father, we hate what we also believe he did.”
Outside the courtroom, Alawadi’s mother said her son-in-law “deserve[s] to be killed as well. My daughter was home, as you probably all know. He’s the one.”
Alhimidi, 49, faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced.