Arizona Honor Killing Verdict Is Second Degree Murder
This is a disappointing outcome. In the spirit of equal justice under the law, one would hope to see the message sent to Islamic immigrants that honor killings in America will be dealt with as harshly as possible. But this jury did not represent that view.
The intent of Iraqi father Faleh Almaleki to murder his daughter Noor for assimilating to American values seemed adequately shown in the trial, but the jury did not agree. Or perhaps they thought he should be cut slack for his cultural beliefs, in which “honor” (as defined by misogynist Islam) is highly prized.
Anyway, Almaleki looks to get a substantial prison term, so the trial was not a complete washout. However, the Arizona taxpayer is dinged for his imprisonment costs and American values are again assaulted by Muslim diversity via unwise immigration.
Second-degree murder verdict in Peoria â€?honor killing` trial, The Arizona Republic, February 22, 2011
A Maricopa County Superior Court jury on Tuesday found an Iraqi immigrant guilty of running down his daughter and another woman in a Peoria parking lot in Oct. 2009.
Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki was found guilty of second-degree murder for killing his daughter Noor, 20, and of aggravated assault for injuring her boyfriend`s mother, Amal Khalaf, 41. He was also found guilty of two counts of leaving the scene of a fatal or injury accident.
It was never a “who-done-it” trial.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys didn`t dispute that Al-Maleki hit the two women. But they disagreed on whether he meant to do it. The jury`s job was to determine if Al-Maleki had committed first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, or the lesser offenses of second-degree murder and aggravated assault. Either way, Al-Maleki was likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Now jurors will reconvene to determine if there are aggravating factors that would earn harsher sentences for Al-Maleki. Prosecutor Laura Reckart is alleging that Al-Maleki was lying in wait, that he inflicted serious injury and that he caused physical, financial and emotional harm to his victims.
At sentencing, he faces 10 to 22 years in prison for second-degree murder, 5 to 15 years for aggravated assault, and 2 to 8 Â? years for leaving the scene of the accident. All of those sentences would be stacked on top of each other, meaning Al-Maleki can face 17 to 45 Â? years in prison. He is already 50 years old.
Al-Maleki`s attorneys said the Glendale man drove his Jeep toward the two women, but swerved to avoid Khalaf and tragically hit his daughter.
His actions were reckless, attorneys said.
“Faleh didn`t intend to hurt anyone,” public defender Jeffrey Kirchler said. “What happened that day was an accident, a horrible accident.”
Attorneys acknowledged that Al-Maleki was saddened by his daughter`s decision to move out of his home in 2009. The Iraqi immigrant wiped tears from his eyes during closing statements Monday as Kirchler told jurors about Al-Maleki`s fears that Khalaf`s family was a negative influence on his daughter.
But Al-Maleki never intended to kill his first-born, Kirchler said.
Police and prosecutors told a different story.
They said Al-Maleki was enraged by his daughter`s choices and felt she had dishonored him, so when he saw her and the woman she had gone to live with in the parking lot, he seized the opportunity.
Police estimated Al-Maleki was traveling at least 20 miles per hour when he hit the two women.
If Al-Maleki had pressed his foot on the brakes, Noor would likely still be alive and Khalaf wouldn`t have been injured, Reckart said.
“The evidence proves way beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended, wanted and desired to erase Noor and Amal from his life and this earth,” she said.