Slaying of Shaima Alawadi: Not a 'Hate' Crime After All?
This won't be news to most readers since I first read the report late on Thursday evening. I would have posted it yesterday, but I had already composed a blog entry for posting, and because I'm blogging later than usual this Saturday morning, there are likely far better reports by now. I did notice the New York Times had an article yesterday. My source is a San Diego paper that I'd never heard of before. Anyway, according to Kristina Davis, writing for the U. T. San Diego, "Records hint Iraqi woman's death not a hate crime" (April 4, 2012) :
Shaima Alawadi . . . was apparently planning to divorce her husband and move to Texas when she was killed, [and her] 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, who called 911 to report the attack, was distraught over her [own] pending arranged marriage to a cousin . . . . [Moreover, a] search of Fatima's cellphone records shows that while she was being interviewed by investigators hours after the attack, someone sent the teen a text message that read, "The detective will find out tell them (can't) talk" . . . . Fatima [had] told [the] El Cajon police that she heard her mother squeal, and 10 seconds later heard the sound of glass breaking, the affidavit said. She told police she thought her mother had dropped a plate. Ten minutes later, the daughter discovered her mother lying unconscious on the ground, near a computer, and called 911 . . . . [Making matters more complex, a]neighbor reported seeing a skinny dark-skinned male running west from the area of Alawadi's house. He was described as being in his late teens to early 20s, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt and carrying a brown doughnut-shaped cardboard box . . . . An autopsy noted the assault was "extremely violent" and showed Alawadi had at least six hits to the head, with at least four skull fractures. The injuries were possibly caused by an object similar to a tire iron, with a striking edge that is narrow and made of a hard material, according to the records . . . . [Oddly, the] sheriff's crime lab determined [that] a threatening handwritten note found near the victim was a copy, not the original . . . . During a search of the home and the couple's vehicles in the hours after the attack, police found court paperwork to file for divorce in Alawadi's Ford Explorer. The packet was not filled out, but a form requesting a court fee waiver was filled out in handwriting with Alawadi's name, address and phone number . . . . Police also searched computers, cellphones and other devices . . . . Investigators also learned of a previous police contact with Fatima . . . . [On the third of November 2011, the] police found Fatima with a 21-year-old man after responding to a report of two people possibly having sex in a car . . . . Officers called her mother, who came to the location and picked up the girl. As they were driving away, Fatima said, "I love you, mom," before jumping out of the vehicle onto Mollison Avenue at 35 mph [and] was taken to a hospital with several injuries, including a possible broken arm. She refused to talk to police at the hospital but reportedly told paramedics and hospital staff that she was being forced to marry her cousin and didn't want to. [But] Rawnaq Yacub, the man in the incident, told U-T San Diego Wednesday that police interviewed him after the slaying and some of his clothes were taken from the home he shares with his family. He said he has no connection to the crime . . . . [and] described Fatima as a "best friend" and said there is no romantic relationship. He and Fatima were only talking in the car when police contacted them five months ago, he said . . . . [The daughter,] her father and a brother flew to Iraq last week for Alawadi's funeral on Saturday and planned to stay for two weeks, a family friend said.I don't usually quote so extensively, but this is an important point to get correct, namely, whether this is a hate crime or an honor killing. From this report, I would have thought the police to be investigating two possible angles, the father (due to the impending divorce) and the daughter (due to the boyfriend). However, the police allowed both of them to leave the US for Alawadi's funeral in Iraq, so I'm guessing that the actual police investigation is focused upon the daughter's 'boyfriend.' Yet, I'm still surprised that the daughter and father were allowed to leave the US.
Alawadi's death, at any rate, looks much less like a hate crime . . .