Crime and Courts

Mother of San Diego TikToker testifies in her son's double murder trial

Dalal Warra testified that shortly after the shootings, Ali Abulaban called her and admitted to the killings.

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The mother of a social media personality charged with murdering his wife and another man in East Village testified Monday that she did not believe it when her son confessed to the killings to her over the phone until he sent her a photograph of the victims' bodies.

The murder trial of Ali Abulaban, who is accused of fatally shooting 28-year-old Ana Abulaban and 29-year-old Rayburn Cardenas Barron, is nearing its end. Defense witnesses began taking the stand late last week and Abulaban is expected to testify this week, possibly as soon as Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege Abulaban, who went by the handle JinnKid on various social media platforms, was physically and verbally abusive to his wife leading up to Oct. 21, 2021, when Ana Abulaban and Barron were shot and killed in the Abulabans' 35th floor unit at the Spire San Diego luxury apartment complex.

Abulaban's mother, Dalal Warra, testified Monday that shortly after the shootings, Abulaban called her and admitted to the killings.

Warra testified that she told him, "That's not funny, Ali. Don't say that."

After Abulaban sent her a picture of the bodies, Warra said she immediately deleted it.

Warra testified that she was aware her son and his wife were having marital problems, but upon questioning, denied knowing of multiple alleged incidents of domestic violence prosecutors say her son committed.

Deputy District Attorney Taren Brast asked Warra about one incident in which Abulaban's sister allegedly saw Abulaban punch Ana, took pictures of her facial injuries, and sent them to her mother.

Warra said she didn't recall getting those pictures and didn't know of another incident in which Abulaban allegedly pushed Ana into a refrigerator.

When asked whether Abulaban ever told her he punched his wife in the face, Warra testified, "She hit him too" and referenced a FaceTime call with her son in which she saw he had scratches.

Warra, who said her son and his wife were happily married prior to moving to San Diego, also denied that her son was discharged from the U.S. Air Force for allegedly punching his wife in the face while he was stationed in Japan.

"I don't believe it because I know how they were together," she testified.

While she was aware Ana had called the police on her husband on multiple occasions, Warra testified that Ana never went through with pushing for her husband's arrest or getting a restraining order against him.

NBC7's Dana Williams has more on today's opening statements in trial of Ali Nasser Abulaban

Brast told jurors earlier this month that Abulaban was "jealous, controlling, and violent" toward his wife and despite Ana saying she was through with the marriage, Abulaban considered her newfound relationship with Barron to be cheating and killed them for it.

Abulaban's attorney, Jodi Green, has argued that Abulaban suffered childhood abuse, which may have played a role in the way he handled relationships.

On the day of the shootings, the trauma, coupled with an array of undiagnosed mental health issues, sent him into an uncontrollable state when he saw his wife with Barron in the apartment, according to Green. The attorney argued that in the moment, Abulaban felt "as though he was in the passenger seat of his body. Not in control, not in his right mind, but overcome with so much intense emotion. Simply out of his mind."

Jurors also heard Monday from Dr. Francesca Lehman, a clinical and forensic psychologist retained by the defense, who said she diagnosed Abulaban with bipolar I disorder, complex trauma, alcohol and stimulant dependence, and unspecified personality disorder with borderline, antisocial, and narcissistic features.

Lehman testified that these diagnoses would create "a perfect storm" that she would expect to severely impair a person's judgment and decision making.

The doctor also referenced multiple 911 calls Abulaban made in 2021, in which he expressed concerns about himself. In one of the calls, a police dispatcher felt Abulaban "was having some kind of breakdown" and referred him to services that could assist him, Lehman said.

Abulaban is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, with allegations of using a handgun in the slayings, and a special-circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders. Jurors are expected to begin deliberating toward the end of this week.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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