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 tried to make a deal with her: If she returned home and straightened herself out, he would ask authorities to drop the case against her.
But Noor wouldn't agree to that and wound up facing a serious charge that remained unresolved at the time of her death.
Things continued to deteriorate inside the Almaleki family.
In March 2009, Seham Almaleki won an order of protection against Noor in Glendale City Court. In her petition, Seham claimed Noor had come home and hit her on one occasion and had cursed her in the family home on another.
Noor did not contest the order, which barred her from the Almaleki residence and from contacting her siblings at their schools.
By this time, she had moved in with her new boyfriend, Marwan, and his mother. To the Almalekis, this was akin to a declaration of war by Noor, Amal Khalaf, and her son.
On July 20, Faleh and Seham broke into Amal's home late at night to try to corral their daughter.
Glendale police reports say Noor and Marwan weren't home at the time. But Seham banged on Amal's locked bedroom door and challenged her to come out and fight. Amal apparently hid until police arrived in response to a 911 call made by one of Amal's young daughters.
Amal declined to pursue criminal charges against the Almalekis.
Some of Faleh and Seham's concerns about their daughter's living arrangement may have been justified.
Last August 6, Glendale police arrested Marwan Alebadi on charges of assaulting Noor, allegedly as she tried to break up his fight with an unnamed third party at Amal's home.
Authorities accused Marwan of breaking and lacerating Noor's nose during the clash, which he denied. The domestic-violence charge was still pending when Noor died.
At home recovering from her injuries, Amal Khalaf told Peoria police in December that she had taken in Noor because the young woman had nowhere else to go after leaving her parents' house.
Giving Noor shelter had been her sole concern, not facilitating Noor's romantic relationship with her son, Amal stressed.
She said she knew how much Noor missed her younger siblings and that Noor would talk with her 16-year-old sister, Fatima, without her parents' knowledge.
Just days before the assaults, Amal said, she had persuaded Noor to reach out to her parents, in an effort to get a dialogue going.
Noor spoke with her mother by phone, but Amal said it didn't go well. She said Noor told her that Seham had declared, "Amal is your mom; I'm not your mom."
In the weeks after his arrest and subsequent incarceration at the Maricopa County Jail, Faleh Almaleki spoke often by phone with family members.
Authorities secretly taped every word.
"How is she now?" Faleh asked cousin Jamil during one conversation.
Faleh and his family spoke in Arabic during the jail conversations, which were later translated into English.
"Who's she?" Jamil asked.
"Noor," Faleh said.
"Noor died, brother," Jamil said.
"What?" Faleh asked.
"Yes, she's gone, Faleh. Now, look after yourself."
"Brother," Faleh replied, "talk to the lawyers and tell them it was not intended to be a murder."
Faleh told Jamil to ask the Iraqi consulate to intervene with the American government.
"Connect it to honor and dishonor and, I don't know, whatever," he said. "And an Iraqi is worth nothing without honor."
Jamil agreed, saying, "This is the base of the story. Newspapers wrote about this issue. It's happening now, and the Internet and whole world is writing about this subject."
Faleh continued to go over the honor-killing theme in phone calls with his wife.
"Listen," he told Seham, "have [friends] sit across from the [U.S.] consulate [in Iraq] and hold signs saying, 'The Iraqi honor is precious.' Signs saying that I'm not a criminal, [that] I didn't break into someone's house, [that] I didn't steal. You know what I mean? And for an Iraqi, honor is the most valuable thing."
Faleh went on with his riff: "No one hates his daughter, but honor is precious, and nothing is better than honor, and we are a tribal society that can't change. I didn't kill someone off the street. I tried to give her a chance, but no result."
Seham chided her husband at one point for having "rushed into it," presumably referring to his violent act.
"Seham, don't blame me," Faleh protested. "Can you watch Amal's demeanor and do nothing? You can't. Amal brought it upon her."
"Amal brought it upon her," Seham repeated.
"Verily to Allah we belong, and verily to Him we shall return," Faleh told her.
"Trust in God, and pray to God," he said, "and don't rush and retain a mediocre lawyer."
The subject of legal representation came up in another recorded conversation.
Seham mentioned a lawyer who had "pulled a miracle" in an unspecified case.
"Is he Arab?" Faleh asked.
"No, not Arab," she replied. "He is a Jew."
"A Jew?" he said. "Check with Arabs as well. [But] if there is a loophole in this subject — you know, clans, tribalism, something like that — the Jews know of it. See if there is a loophole or something.