We posted on this case right after the daughter's death in 2009, an apparent "honor killing." Now dad FALEH HASSAN ALMALEKI is finally set to go to to trial this month for 1st-degree murder.
January 3, 2011 4:57 PM
Iraqi Father Accused of Killing "Too Westernized" Daughter Set to Stand Trial in Ariz.
Posted by Carlin DeGuerin Miller
PHOENIX (CBS/AP) Noor Almaleki, a 20-year-old Iraqi immigrant who longed to live a typical American life, was in a coma for two weeks before succumbing to injuries prosecutors say were caused by her angry father's own car.
Now Faleh Hassan Almaleki is set to go to trial this month for first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident.
The Oct. 2009 incident set off a firestorm of "honor killing" outrage and raised awareness of the rare practice within the United States.
Prosecutors say that the relationship between father and daughter was strained almost from the moment Faleh Almaleki moved his family from Iraq to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in the mid-1990's.
But Faleh Almaleki's attorneys are hoping the jury will not hear about any of the harassment prosecutors say Noor Almaleki endured, arguing that there's no evidence of such harassment beyond hearsay.
"The inference is highly prejudicial and will taint Mr. Almaleki's chances for a fair trial," attorney Jeffrey Kirchler wrote. "The risk is that the jury will assume if Mr. Almaleki previously abused his daughter, he is more likely to have premeditated her death."
According to prosecutors, the pair's first known conflict was when, at 17, Noor Almaleki refused an arranged marriage in Iraq, enraging her father. By 19, she had moved out of the family home and got her own apartment and a job. But prosecutors say she was forced to abandon both fairly quickly after her parents kept showing up at her work, insisting that she return home, according to a court document filed by prosecutors.
Later in 2009, Noor Almaleki moved in with her boyfriend and his parents, but prosecutors say that Faleh Almaleki continued to harass his daughter and even threatened the boyfriend's parents, Reikan and Amal Khalaf.
Then on October 20, 2009, the threats turned real, according to prosecutors, when Faleh Almaleki hit Noor Almaleki and Amal Khalef with his Jeep as they left a Department of Economic Security office, before the father sped off and fled the country.
Noor Almaleki underwent spinal surgery but died Nov. 2, 2009. Amal Khalaf survived.
"The investigation into these crimes revealed that the defendant was very angry with Noor for not living by traditional Iraqi values as she had, in his eyes, become too 'Westernized' and brought dishonor on her family," prosecutors wrote in a court document.
Soon after Faleh Almaleki fled the country law enforcement caught up with him and returned him to Phoenix. Some of his court dates were postponed because he was on suicide watch for a while and his lawyers said he didn't understand the judicial process.
His trial is set to begin Jan. 18.