Father on trial, daughter denies wanting Iraqi-American mother dead

Father on trial, daughter denies wanting Iraqi-American mother dead

SAN DIEGO - The daughter of an Iraqi-American man accused of killing his wife in California in what was first investigated as a hate crime denied under cross-examination by a defence lawyer on Monday that she ever said she wanted her mother dead.

Fatima Alhimidi acknowledged telling an uncle's then-girlfriend that she hated her mother because the two had fought over her romance with a local Chaldean Christian boy, a relationship that would be taboo in many Muslim families.

But asked by defence attorney Richard Berkon if she had ever said she wanted her mother dead, the 19-year-old Alhimidi said:"I don't remember that. I don't think so." The questions appeared to be part of a defence strategy to suggest that the father, 49-year-old Kassim Alhimidi, may not have been the only person with a possible motive for killing the stay-at-home mother of five in her San Diego-area home.

When it was his turn to question Alhimidi, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals asked her directly if she had anything to do with the crime. "Did you kill your mother? Did you tell your boyfriend Ron to do it?" Mechals asked. Alhimidi responded: "No." It was Fatima Alhimidi, then 17, who found her mother, Shaima Alawadi, bloodied on the kitchen floor of the family home in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon on March 21, 2012. Alawadi, 32, died several days later.

Authorities initially probed the killing as a possible hate crime because of a threatening note found at the scene. The US State Department expressed condolences for the woman's death and Iraqi government officials attended her funeral in that country.

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