Shaima Alawadi: An honour killing kind of hate crime

SDAMatt2 | April 6, 2012
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Newly released search warrant records show an Iraqi-American woman viciously beaten to death in her El Cajon home was apparently planning to divorce her husband and move to Texas, casting doubt on whether the slaying was a hate crime, as first suggested, it was reported Thursday.

Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was attacked in her home on Skyview Street about 11 a.m. March 21, El Cajon police said. Her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, called 911 after allegedly finding her critically injured mother, who was pronounced dead in a hospital three days later.

Records obtained at El Cajon Superior Court on Wednesday showed the victim planned to leave her husband and also revealed the daughter was distraught over her pending arranged marriage to a cousin, U-T San Diego reported.

Alawadi's husband, Kassim Alhimidi, was reported to have been taking the couple's younger children to school when the attack occurred, but an affidavit stated his whereabouts had not yet been confirmed, according to U-T San Diego.

Alawadi's death spurred outrage in the Muslim community. Police said the slaying may have been a hate crime -- citing a threatening note found at the scene -- but stressed all other possibilities would be investigated.

The sheriff's crime lab determined that the note, which ordered the family to go back to where they came from, was a copy, not the original, U-T San Diego reported. Police said the family allegedly received a similar note prior to the day of the killing but did not report it.

A family friend told U-T San Diego that Fatima, her brother and father flew to Iraq last week for Alawadi's funeral on Saturday and planned to stay for two weeks.