By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Faleh was on his own cell phone around the time that his daughter was texting. He spent five minutes speaking with his oldest son, Ali, 18 months younger than Noor.
Faleh also spoke with a male relative in Detroit and several times with wife Seham, who was working as a translator at a U.S. military base near Bakersfield, California.
Minutes after he arrived, Faleh left the DES office without comment.
At 1:32, Noor sent a final text to Ushna in which she appeared more relaxed.
"What time do you get out of work?" Noor asked her friend. "Are you going to have time [to meet]?"
Amal's number finally got called, and she and Noor stepped up to a counter to take care of business. That took several minutes.
Amal had parked her van near the front door, in a crowded lot the DES shares with a popular Mexican restaurant about 100 yards west.
But Amal remained wary of Faleh. She knew how angry he was with her for allowing Noor to move into her home.
Their families once had been friendly, in Iraq and then in the States. Amal Khalaf had baby-sat the Almalekis' young children when Seham was working.
But any good feelings evaporated after Noor moved in with Marwan and Amal.
Amal wanted to scope out the parking lot for Faleh and his 2000 silver-gray Jeep Cherokee before leaving the DES office with Noor.
Noor didn't seem as worried.
She said her dad might spit on her if he had the chance — nothing more.
The coast looked clear, so they headed for Amal's van. But Amal soon discovered that she had locked her keys inside the vehicle.
She and Noor retreated to the DES office to regroup. Amal called her son and asked him to bring by a spare key from home, about 20 minutes away.
It was a sunny, 85-degree day, and Amal wanted to wait just outside the front door of the DES office.
But Noor was thirsty. She suggested they go to the nearby Mexican restaurant for a cold drink. The pair walked west along the sidewalk next to the office and started across the lot.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Amal saw a vehicle coming right at them. She lifted her hands in defense, as if to stop the inevitable.
In that moment, she could see Faleh Almaleki behind the wheel.
The Jeep smashed into the women.
It dragged Noor across a curbed median and left her splayed on the pavement, unconscious and bleeding.
The impact hurled Amal Khalaf about 27 feet. She suffered a broken pelvis, broken femur, and myriad cuts and bruises, but she remained conscious.
Peoria police later estimated that the SUV was moving as fast as 30 miles per hour.
Faleh sped out of the parking lot and turned west on Peoria Avenue.
Noor was barely alive, having suffered massive brain and spinal injuries, as well as many broken bones.
Amal soon provided police with a possible motive. She said the Almalekis were furious with both her and Noor about the current living arrangement.
Amal explained that Faleh had been hell-bent to show her and his daughter who was boss, who was in control.
Within minutes of Faleh's fleeing the bloody scene, he spoke by cell phone to his wife, to son Ali, and to at least two other members of his extended family.
Cell-tower records show that he called his cousin, Jamil Almaleki, less than an hour after the assaults and about half a mile from Jamil's Phoenix home.
It's uncertain whether Faleh stopped there on his way out of town, to get the extra clothes and money he had when authorities finally caught up with him.
Another possibility is that Faleh packed the clothes and money, days' worth of insulin to treat his diabetes, and his U.S. passport (he had recently become a naturalized citizen) before driving to the DES office — which would indicate a well-planned attack.
Whether Faleh assaulted the women on the spur of the moment or premeditated his action, he had time to reflect on what he did: run over two defenseless women, one of whom was his firstborn child.
Three Peoria police detectives went to the Almaleki residence at 5 p.m. on October 20, about three hours after the assaults.
Noor's brother, Ali, opened the front door. He was in a tough spot.
Ali once had been close to his sister.
His written praise accompanies a photo of the siblings in Noor's senior yearbook at El Mirage Dysart High School:
"I admire that my sister is always there for me. I'm always able to talk to her no matter what. She'll always be there for me to listen to and give me a shoulder to lean on."
But the feud between Noor and their parents had taken its toll, and the siblings hadn't spoken in weeks. (Ali later told friends in an e-mail that he had taken to calling his sister vile names before they stopped speaking.)
Ali told Detective Juan Lopez that he hadn't been in touch with his father since mid-morning, when they had gone to a Best Buy electronics store together. He insisted that he didn't want to get involved in whatever was going on.