A San Diego-based Iraqi immigrant on trial for beating his wife to death sobbed in a courtroom Wednesday as the focus of his trial shifted to forensics, including blood evidence, fingerprints and photographs of the murder scene.
With his head in his hands, defendant Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, wept in court, loud enough that the jury could hear him – albeit more quietly than when he wailed in court Tuesday after hearing the 911 call tied to his case.
Al-Himidi is accused of fatally beating his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32, two years ago. Her brutally beaten body was found in a pool of blood by the couple’s then 17-year-old daughter in the dining room of their family home in El Cajon on Mar. 21, 2012.
Alawadi died a few days later from critical brain injuries.
At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime because a threatening note was found at the crime scene that read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”
Both the defendant and victim are Iraqi immigrants. The case reverberated across the nation until El Cajon police later said the killing was an isolated incident and Alawadi’s death was likely not a hate crime, but rather one of domestic violence.
In court last July, the couple’s daughter, Fatima, testified that her parents’ marriage had been on the rocks and her mother had planned to file for divorce and move to Texas. Fatima said her father was not pleased with those plans and begged Alawadi to stay with him.
According to the prosecution, Al-Himidi killed his wife because she wanted a divorce, then staged the scene to make it look like a hate crime.
On Wednesday, as with the remainder of the trial, cameras were not allowed in the courtroom during testimony. Cameras were only allowed inside on Tuesday during opening statements.
However, an NBC 7 reporter was in court Wednesday during testimony and Al-Himidi’s emotions ran high once again.
This time, the accused husband cried aloud when a photo was shown of the master bedroom at the family’s home on Skyview Street. On top of the dresser were photographs of the couple and the family.
The couple’s daughter is expected to testify Thursday about finding her mother’s body, calling 911 and the state of her parents’ marriage at the time of the murder.