Man Accused of Killing Wife Breaks Down in Court

Kassim Al-Himidi is accused of killing his wife, Shaima Alawadi in the couple's El Cajon home in March 2012

An El Cajon man accused of killing his wife has been ordered to stand trial for murder.

Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, faces charges of first degree murder in the beating of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32. On Thursday, he broke down in court as his daughter described finding her mother lying in a pool of blood.

Alawadi – an Iraqi immigrant -- was found unconscious inside her home in the 500 block of Skyview Street in March 2012.

Her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima, found her on the floor of their dining room with a suspicious note nearby.

Fatima was home the morning of the attack and said she heard a squeal and glass shattering. When she came downstairs, she saw her mother's feet near the kitchen entry and blood on the floor. She called 911.

As she testified Thursday, her father cried openly in court. Speaking in Arabic to his defense team and translator while wiping away tears.

The courtroom was filled with members of Alawadi's family, visiting from Houston, including the victim's brother, Hasseneen Alawadi.

Fatima testified that her parents' marriage started experiencing trouble in August 2011. Things really got bad in January, she said.

Her mother had planned to get a divorce and move to Texas, Fatima said. She testified that her father saw the divorce papers and laughed at her mother. She said her mother was furious that he wasn't taking her seriously.

Fatima also testified that her father would beg Alawadi to stay with him, telling her that he loved her.

When the family found a handwritten note on the carpet of the home (pictured right), the daughter testified that she begged her parents to call 911 but her mother thought it was a prank.

Then after her mother's death, Fatima testified she heard Al-Himidi say he had thrown objects out of his van "shoes and a metal thing."

"He said yes, that he did throw it away because he was afraid that the cops will suspect it was him," she testified.

After Alawadi's death, the defendant immediately traveled to Iraq to bury his wife.

He returned to the U.S. two weeks later and said he came back because he had nothing to hide. He has pleaded not guilty.

Fatima also testified that even with the troubled marriage, she never witnessed her father striking her mother or any other member of the family. 

Alawadi's death reverberated across the nation until El Cajon police detectives later said the killing was an isolated incident and records suggested Alawadi's death may not have been a hate crime but rather one of domestic violence.

On Thursday, the victim's brother, Hasseneen Alawadi, told NBC 7 he knows Al-Himidi is guilty.

"We know the truth, but it has to be proven here in court today. The truth is, Kassim Al-Himihi killed my sister," said Hasseneen.

"When [Shaima] left home for two days [before her murder], she was coming to my house, to me and my other brother's house, to run away from him [Al-Himidi]," he added.

On Friday, a judge ordered Al-Himidi to stand trial for the murder of his wife. The trial is set to begin next month. If convicted, Al-Himidi faces 26 years to life in prison.

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