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Police: Shaima Alawadi's death was domestic violence not hate crime, arrest husband

Reuters

The husband of Shaima Alawadi, Kassim Alhimidi, holds a picture of his slain wife in April 2012.

Police have arrested the husband of an Iraqi woman beaten to death in her home eight months ago for what initially looked like a racially motivated hate crime, U-T San Diego reported, citing jail records in El Cajon, Calif., in San Diego County.

Kassim Alhimidi, 48, was booked into jail Thursday evening on one count of first-degree murder. He is being held without bail.

"After months of hard work, we determined that this homicide was a result of domestic violence," El Cajon Police Chief Jim Redman said Friday, NBCSanDiego.com reported.

Shaima Alawadi, 32, was found bloody and unconscious with multiple skull fractures in her family's home on March 21. She died in the hospital three days later.


The couple’s 17-year-old daughter told police she was in her bedroom when the attack took place. She found her mother unconscious and called 9-1-1.

Family members said they had found a note near Alawadi's body telling the family to go back where they came from. They said they had found a similar note at their home weeks earlier, but they didn't keep it or report it.

Police said at the time they were investigating the possibility of a hate crime.

Alawadi's horrific death sparked fear and anger among immigrants who believed the crime targeted her because she was Muslim or because of her country of origin.

Thousands of supporters wearing the traditional Muslim hijab headscarf signed on to a Facebook page called "One Million Hijabs For Shaima Alawadi."

Later court documents emerged suggesting family tensions, and showing that Alawadi was preparing to divorce her husband and move with her children to be with relatives in Texas.

Affidavit: Iraqi beating victim in California had friction with daughter, husband

After Alawadi's death, Alhimidi traveled to Iraq for her burial and returned two weeks later.

Redman told reporters that investigators did not have any reason to keep Alhimidi in the country at the time, NBCSanDiego.com reported.

"He came back, and we decided he was a person of interest after he came back," Redman said without giving specifics.

The couple's minor children have been taken into protective custody

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