Is Manslaughter Appropriate for "Honor Killing" Suspect Faleh Almaleki?

As the jury trial of accused daughter-killer Faleh Almaleki moves toward its conclusion, one thing is certain. The 12-person panel will find the 50-year-old Glendale resident guilty of one degree of homicide or another.

The real question inside Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle's courtroom: Can Almaleki's defense team somehow convince jurors that a lesser charge of, say, manslaughter is appropriate under the circumstances?

Almaleki has pleaded innocent to charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and leaving the scene of an accident. Prosecutors have alleged that this was no accident, but the intentional, premeditated running-down with his Jeep Cherokee of his 20-year-old daughter, Noor, and another woman who once was a family friend.

Faleh Almaleki is accused of killing his 20-year-old daughter, Noor.
Faleh Almaleki is accused of killing his 20-year-old daughter, Noor.

Those prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in this closely watched case, though Almaleki is looking at spending the rest of his life behind bars if the jury convicts him of almost any of the murder and attempted murder counts.

The facts of this case are chilling ("Honor Thy Father," March 30, 2010):

Peoria police and county prosecutors have alleged that Faleh Almaleki murdered Noor after becoming outraged that she had "disgraced" him by leaving the family fold and moving in with a boyfriend, Marwan Alebadi, and Alebadi's mother.

The mother, Amal Khalaf, survived the October 2009 hit-and-run and testified dramatically last week during the ongoing trial.

Almaleki's defense lawyers are countering that he hadn't meant to harm either woman but accidentally barreled over them while intending to spit at Khalaf from his Jeep.

Noor died without regaining consciousness several days after being crushed by her father's 4,000-pound vehicle. Amal Khalaf suffered broken bones and other injuries.

Faleh Almaleki sped away from the scene, a state Department of Economic Security parking lot in Peoria. At first, he fled to Nogales, Mexico, and later flew from Mexico City to England. Authorities nabbed him at London's Heathrow Airport within days and extradited him to the states.

Authorities recovered Almaleki's Jeep Cherokee in a mall parking lot on the Mexico side of Nogales within days of the incident.

"What could be more dishonorable than a father ripping away the life of his own flesh and blood?" veteran prosecutor Laura Reckart told the jury in her opening statement at the start of the trial.

Her use of the word "dishonorable" was intentional, as this case has been dubbed a so-called "honor killing," referring to the ancient practice, employed mostly in Arabic countries, of targeting females for committing supposedly immoral acts that are perceived to bring disgrace on the family.

(Even innocent young girls who are sexually assaulted or suffer other depravities may become murder victims at the hands of male siblings or other family members, supposedly to assuage the "shame" brought upon the clan.)

Prosecutors played for the jury tapes of Faleh Almaleki's post-arrest interview with Peoria police detectives, during which he claimed to simply have lost control of his Jeep.

"I have no problem with my daughter," he first told Detective Chris Boughey, whose investigation of this case was solid.

Boughey asked Almaleki whether he had been trying to frighten the women.

"Might be something like that," said the Iraqi-born father of seven, who speaks in broken English, "but I don't try to kill them . . . I've been angry, and I lost control. I lost the brain."

Later in the interview, Almaleki asked the detective how he would have handled such a "disobedient" daughter as Noor. The detective said that he would not have crushed his child with an automobile.

Detective Boughey then asked Almaleki again whether he had meant to harm Noor and Khalaf.

Yes, Almaleki finally confessed, using a metaphor to try to explain his actions:

"If your house has got a fire [in] just part of the house, do we . . . let the house burn or [do] we try to stop the fire?"

Almaleki said his daughter Noor, his first-born child, was the "small fire" he had been forced to extinguish.

The jurors have not been privy to transcripts of Almaleki's jailhouse phone calls with his wife, Seham, who is expected to testify when the defense presents its case.

Some of those calls covered honor killings and how Faleh Almaleki wanted to defend what he had done to Noor.

"Listen," he told his wife, "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."

He continued, "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."

Mrs. Almaleki chastised her husband for having rushed into the violent act, to which Faleh responded, "Don't blame me! Can you watch Amal's demeanor and do nothing? You can't. Amal brought it upon her."

He then advised his wife to "trust in God and pray to God —and don't rush and retain a mediocre lawyer."

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35 comments
malasangre
malasangre

what I dont get is killing someone who has been raped. wouldnt you kill the rapist?

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

especially given that no one - not a single damn person - is claiming this killing is an honor killing.

The word is used to evoke racist, bigoted opinions in the mind of Arizona's sandbillies.

The defense argument - which may well be a farse - is that this was an accident. If this were an honor killing, then they would claim as much.

Honor killings do occure in this world, with alarming frequency in some regions, and they should be prosecuted at each and every instance. But we shouldn't use the term in cowardly efforts to taint or bias a jury.

Rubin has his opinion on how this all went down. He makes that very clear. What I find sad is that he doesn't have enough faith in his ability as a writer or in the intellegence of his readers to do so without resorting race-baiting and stereotypes.

tr7fan
tr7fan

death penalty at minimum

tr7fan
tr7fan

death penalty at minimum

MarcB
MarcB

Either way he will be imprisoned, where, hopefully, he will be sodomized and raped for a good long time before he is butchered as the pig that he is.

MarcB
MarcB

These are animals. Like the cowardly animals that throw acid into wormens' faces, practice sexual mutilation upon them and beat and abuse them for their 'affronts.' Like any mankilling animal, lock the filthy beast into a cage and throw away the key.

Beachy
Beachy

manslaughter is totally inappropriate here: he deserves the death penalty

Beap
Beap

He couldn't live by US law but he can certainly be punished by it. Some things you can't opt out of.

Lyric
Lyric

He continued, "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."

The problem is that here in the United States we do NOT have a tribal society. Our society does not define HONOR by murdering our family members when they anger us. If this man felt that he couldn't live by our laws then he should not have come to this country . To use his own words... we gave you a chance... but no result.

XSoldier
XSoldier

Not only will this jury convict this dumbass, I could bet that they recommend him to some mental institution and then jail.

Mystmr
Mystmr

This moron stated that Iraquis are part of tribal society and can't change..Then here is some advice, stay the hell out of the US. WE ARE NOT A TRIBAL SOCIETY! I am amazed at how many of these mental midgets come here "supossedly" for a better life then bring their mindless culture with them. He should get the death penalty , but instead of being put to death in a humane way, he should be staked out in the desert for the buzzards. After all isn't that the way his archaic and tribal society would have done it?

Tallanh
Tallanh

"Honor killing" is premeditated murder. The people who engage in this depraved practice should face the maximum penalty available. It is they, and not their daughters, who are disgraceful.

Jayne5601
Jayne5601

Even the 'peaceful' Muslims become Jihad Joe when the special moment or action triggers their programmed suggestion. Muslim men are all in a deep state of hypnosis, that is why they deny their actions consistently, it's not them that is committing the act, it is their alter ego, the trick is to live in the present, not an emotional state, in that way they won't be hypnotized. The 'honor' they claim to own is only pride, pride derived from a huge ego. God is the true "I Am", Satan is the imitator of this, he always wanted to be God but could not. Evil only feels productive when it is destroying God's creation - life.

Just4me
Just4me

Honor! the daughter should have killed this fat fuck , talk about embarrassing the family!

Guillermo
Guillermo

This dog is a disgusting coward. He deserves the death penalty if anyone ever did. Because the Arab mentality is what it is, I see no reason for the United States to have wasted the lives of all the young men and women who have died in Iraq. We should immediately get out of Iraq and let them kill each other. the Middle East has never had an appreciation for democracy and the civility that it requires and never will.

Jamescrocker66
Jamescrocker66

I volunteer to be the executioner when this asshole is convicted! The State of Arizona should save the courts money and allow someone(hopefully me) to put a bullet in the back of this idiots head.

Jamescrocker66
Jamescrocker66

The "Honor killing" can not in any way be removed from pre-meditated murder. Don't let this asshole off on anything short of "MURDER ONE".

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Manslaughter is only offered as a, "lesser included charge", to entice the jury to convict him of some crime if they feel any degree of homicide is not appropriate. However, manslaughter generally requires 'heat of passion' where a spur of moment incident blinds the actor into not being able to see any other solution than injuring or killing the other person. Manslaughter may commonly be applied when a spouse walks into the house and catches the other spouse naked with a third person.... and the offended spouse is blinded by the 'passion' of the moment...

In this case it appears there was no moment of passion to blind the judgment of the father. In fact, it appears he probably stewed for days, weeks, or perhaps months, about the disrespect his daughter was showing toward her 'culture' and family He likely was embarrassed at times when others in his cultural community found out about her misdeeds and he needed to do something to avenge the continued wrongdoing. He wasn't in the wrong place by irony. He very likely followed the two women there, or knew they would be there, and simply waited for them to walk out, knowing he was going to take them out and make them pay for their having disrespected him and his cultural beliefs.

I will guess it would be difficult to prove intent to murder, but I am expecting a finding of guilty of second degree murder. He killed his daughter, and likely intended to do so.

As Judge Roy Bean is thought to have said, "bring that guilty bastard in so we can give him and fair trial and hang him until he is cold". Or something like that...

Sean
Sean

This just proves how retarded our judicial system is.

NLS
NLS

It is a religious thing, and if we let him get away with it then we are condoning something that isn't acceptable in the US. Honor in and of itself is something we lost long ago unfortunately, but to kill women in the name of honor is unconscienceable. If he was so worried about her being too westernized why did he bring his family here? And the mothers inability to defend and protect her child is even worse. Tolerance and acceptance only goes so far.

Moss Strohem
Moss Strohem

"...At first, he fled to Nogales, Mexico, and later flew from Mexico City to England. Authorities nabbed him at London's Heathrow Airport within days and extradited him to the states."

How many AMERICANS could get away with that attempt?!?

tr7fan
tr7fan

i think they should just run him over like he did his daughter "an eye for eye" and so on

Valley
Valley

If he gets off easy, how many other people (regardless of race or religion) will then claim "honor-killing" as an excuse to kill people they don't like. Its not a matter of race or religion, its a matter of Life and Death and Right and Wrong.

tr7fan
tr7fan

By Scott Stewart

For several years now, STRATFOR has been closely watching developments in Mexico that relate to what we consider the three wars being waged there. Those three wars are the war between the various drug cartels, the war between the government and the cartels and the war being waged against citizens and businesses by criminals.

In addition to watching tactical developments of the cartel wars on the ground and studying the dynamics of the conflict among the various warring factions, we have also been paying close attention to the ways that both the Mexican and U.S. governments have reacted to these developments. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects to watch has been the way in which the Mexican government has tried to deflect responsibility for the cartel wars away from itself and onto the United States. According to the Mexican government, the cartel wars are not a result of corruption in Mexico or of economic and societal dynamics that leave many Mexicans marginalized and desperate to find a way to make a living. Instead, the cartel wars are due to the insatiable American appetite for narcotics and the endless stream of guns that flows from the United States into Mexico and that results in Mexican violence.

Interestingly, the part of this argument pertaining to guns has been adopted by many politicians and government officials in the United States in recent years. It has now become quite common to hear U.S. officials confidently assert that 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. However, a close examination of the dynamics of the cartel wars in Mexico — and of how the oft-echoed 90 percent number was reached — clearly demonstrates that the number is more political rhetoric than empirical fact.

By the Numbers

As we discussed in a previous analysis, the 90 percent number was derived from a June 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress on U.S. efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico (see external link).

According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.Mexico's Gun Supply and the 90 Percent Myth

This means that the 87 percent figure relates to the number of weapons submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF that could be successfully traced and not from the total number of weapons seized by Mexican authorities or even from the total number of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing. In fact, the 3,480 guns positively traced to the United States equals less than 12 percent of the total arms seized in Mexico in 2008 and less than 48 percent of all those submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF for tracing. This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.

The remaining 22,800 firearms seized by Mexican authorities in 2008 were not traced for a variety of reasons. In addition to factors such as bureaucratic barriers and negligence, many of the weapons seized by Mexican authorities either do not bear serial numbers or have had their serial numbers altered or obliterated. It is also important to understand that the Mexican authorities simply don’t bother to submit some classes of weapons to the ATF for tracing. Such weapons include firearms they identify as coming from their own military or police forces, or guns that they can trace back themselves as being sold through the Mexican Defense Department’s Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). Likewise, they do not ask ATF to trace military ordnance from third countries like the South Korean fragmentation grenades commonly used in cartel attacks.

Of course, some or even many of the 22,800 firearms the Mexicans did not submit to ATF for tracing may have originated in the United States. But according to the figures presented by the GAO, there is no evidence to support the assertion that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels come from the United States — especially when not even 50 percent of those that were submitted for tracing were ultimately found to be of U.S. origin.

This point leads us to consider the types of weapons being used by the Mexican cartels and where they come from.

Types and Sources of Guns

To gain an understanding of the dynamics of the gun flow inside Mexico, it helps if one divides the guns seized by Mexican authorities from criminals into three broad categories — which, incidentally, just happen to represent three different sources.

Type 1: Guns Legally Available in Mexico

The first category of weapons encountered in Mexico is weapons available legally for sale in Mexico through UCAM. These include handguns smaller than a .357 magnum such as .380 and .38 Special.

A large portion of this first type of guns used by criminals is purchased in Mexico, or stolen from their legitimate owners. While UCAM does have very strict regulations for civilians to purchase guns, criminals will use straw purchasers to obtain firearms from UCAM or obtain them from corrupt officials. Cartel hit men in Mexico commonly use .380 pistols equipped with sound suppressors in their assassinations. In many cases, these pistols are purchased in Mexico, the suppressors are locally manufactured and the guns are adapted to receive the suppressors by Mexican gunsmiths.

It must be noted, though, that because of the cost and hassle of purchasing guns in Mexico, many of the guns in this category are purchased in the United States and smuggled into the country. There are a lot of cheap guns available on the U.S. market, and they can be sold at a premium in Mexico. Indeed, guns in this category, such as .380 pistols and .22-caliber rifles and pistols, are among the guns most commonly traced back to the United States. Still, the numbers do not indicate that 90 percent of guns in this category come from the United States.

Additionally, most of the explosives the cartels have been using in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Mexico over the past year have used commercially available Tovex, so we consider these explosives to fall in this first category. Mexican IEDs are another area where the rhetoric has been interesting to analyze, but we will explore this topic another time.

Type 2: Guns Legally Available in the U.S. but Not in Mexico

Many popular handgun calibers, such as 9 mm, .45 and .40, are reserved for the military and police and are not available for sale to civilians in Mexico. These guns, which are legally sold and very popular in the United States, comprise our second category, which also includes .50-caliber rifles, semiautomatic versions of assault rifles like the AK-47 and M16 and the FN Five-Seven pistol.

When we consider this second type of guns, a large number of them encountered in Mexico are likely purchased in the United States. Indeed, the GAO report notes that many of the guns most commonly traced back to the United States fall into this category. There are also many .45-caliber and 9 mm semiautomatic pistols and .357 revolvers obtained from deserters from the Mexican military and police, purchased from corrupt Mexican authorities or even brought in from South America (guns made by manufacturers such as Taurus and Bersa). This category also includes semiautomatic variants of assault rifles and main battle rifles, which are often converted by Mexican gunsmiths to be capable of fully automatic fire.

One can buy these types of weapons on the international arms market, but one pays a premium for such guns and it is cheaper and easier to simply buy them in the United States or South America and smuggle them into Mexico. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry that has developed to smuggle such weapons, and not all the customers are cartel hit men. There are many Mexican citizens who own guns in calibers such as .45, 9 mm, .40 and .44 magnum for self-defense — even though such guns are illegal in Mexico.

Type 3: Guns Not Available for Civilian Purchase in Mexico or the U.S.

The third category of weapons encountered in Mexico is military grade ordnance not generally available for sale in the United States or Mexico. This category includes hand grenades, 40 mm grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, automatic assault rifles and main battle rifles and light machine guns.

This third type of weapon is fairly difficult and very expensive to obtain in the United States (especially in the large numbers in which the cartels are employing them). They are also dangerous to obtain in the United States due to heavy law-enforcement scrutiny. Therefore, most of the military ordnance used by the Mexican cartels comes from other sources, such as the international arms market (increasingly from China via the same networks that furnish precursor chemicals for narcotics manufacturing), or from corrupt elements in the Mexican military or even deserters who take their weapons with them. Besides, items such as South Korean fragmentation grenades and RPG-7s, often used by the cartels, simply are not in the U.S. arsenal. This means that very few of the weapons in this category come from the United States.

In recent years the cartels (especially their enforcer groups such as Los Zetas, Gente Nueva and La Linea) have been increasingly using military weaponry instead of sporting arms. A close examination of the arms seized from the enforcer groups and their training camps clearly demonstrates this trend toward military ordnance, including many weapons not readily available in the United States. Some of these seizures have included M60 machine guns and hundreds of 40 mm grenades obtained from the military arsenals of countries like Guatemala.

But Guatemala is not the only source of such weapons. Latin America is awash in weapons that were shipped there over the past several decades to supply the various insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in the region. When these military-grade weapons are combined with the rampant corruption in the region, they quickly find their way into the black arms market. The Mexican cartels have supply-chain contacts that help move narcotics to Mexico from South America and they are able to use this same network to obtain guns from the black market in South and Central America and then smuggle them into Mexico. While there are many weapons in this category that were manufactured in the United States, the overwhelming majority of the U.S.-manufactured weapons of this third type encountered in Mexico — like LAW rockets and M60 machine guns — come into Mexico from third countries and not directly from the United States.

There are also some cases of overlap between classes of weapons. For example, the FN Five-Seven pistol is available for commercial purchase in the United States, but the 5.7x28 armor-piercing ammunition for the pistol favored by the cartels is not — it is a restricted item. However, some of the special operations forces units in the Mexican military are issued the Five-Seven as well as the FN P90 personal defense weapon, which also shoots the 5.7x28 round, and the cartels are obtaining some of these weapons and the armor-piercing ammunition from them and not from the United States. Conversely, we see bulk 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition bought in the United States and smuggled into Mexico, where it is used in fully-automatic AK-47s and M16s purchased elsewhere. As noted above, China has become an increasingly common source for military weapons like grenades and fully automatic assault rifles in recent years.

To really understand Mexico’s gun problem, however, it is necessary to recognize that the same economic law of supply and demand that fuels drug smuggling into the United States also fuels gun smuggling into Mexico. Black-market guns in Mexico can fetch up to 300 percent of their normal purchase price — a profit margin rivaling the narcotics the cartels sell. Even if it were somehow possible to hermetically seal the U.S.-Mexico border and shut off all the guns coming from the United States, the cartels would still be able to obtain weapons elsewhere — just as narcotics would continue to flow into the United States from other places. The United States does provide cheap and easy access to certain types of weapons and ammunition, but as demonstrated by groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, weapons can be easily obtained from other sources via the black arms market — albeit at a higher price.

There has clearly been a long and well-documented history of arms smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border, but it is important to recognize that, while the United States is a significant source of certain classes of weapons and ammunition, it is by no means the source of 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican cartels, as is commonly asserted.

Give us your thoughts on this r

Read more: Mexico's Gun Supply and the 90 Percent Myth | STRATFOR

tr7fan
tr7fan

turned 81 in prision doin life without parole

Southern  Kinfolk
Southern Kinfolk

THIS greasy rag head sand nigger is more proof to never trust a clean cut short haired male. they use that clean cut short haired yuppie look to hide the evil that lurks inside their dark souls.dont believe me? just look at police mugshots and you will see what i mean. long haired bearded guys are peaceful and dont like violence, clean cut guys are violent and kill women and ex lovers etc. ladys you have been warned. date a long haired bearded guy if you can. the Tucson psycho killer and penis head jared laughner is the poster boy for these clean cut violent types.

fairness
fairness

it's funny to read all these high and mighty "Christian" posters here using profanity on the Muslim guy, as though all "Muslims" do this kind of crime. This guy would get harsher penalty in several Muslim countries including Iraq, Turkey, Indonesia Iran, etc.

Asians and Muslims are at the bottom of all crime statistics in this country in proportion to their population. Whites are number 2 after Blacks at the top. In proportion to their population, Muslims commit fewer crimes, are more well-behaved, and more employed (despite facing the most amount of prejudice than any other group in the work place).

There is a domestic homicide almost every week somewhere in the "civilized" USA, 99% of which are committed by the "nice" Christians. You would never see the hypocrites here posting insults and profanities toward the suspect's nice Christian religion, even though the Bible is full of passages about harming and killing disobedient women (e.g. Deuteronomy).

This guy should get the maximum penalty, even the death penalty, but leave his religion alone!

Samphx2006
Samphx2006

Faleh stilld calls himself an Iraqi. As soon as he came to the country in search of a better life, he became an American and should be held to the cultural norms of Americans.

Alan
Alan

1sr degree murder and the death penalty. the only reason they aren't seeking the death penalty is because of political correctness. ignorance and upbringing are no excuse to violate the laws of this country. if I as an american committed this crime in his country i would already be dead.

the Padre
the Padre

There is no excuse for this kind of act. Life is a gift from God that should never be taken away by another human being.

Joe Dirt
Joe Dirt

How the hell did this camel jockey even get into this country?

Look, I know the USA is supposed to be all about freedom and shit but Christ on a clamshell, immigrants need to understand that there are some things we simply don't do in this country and killing your daughter because she rebels against your 13th century beliefs is one of them.

I say we leave the guy out in the desert with a wet leather strap wrapped around his neck and let the sun do the rest.

Dsfg
Dsfg

Who are the "these" about which you speak? Only one man on trial, and he's not evoking an honor killing defense. So who are "these people" that you think this story reflects on?

Sanman
Sanman

stones are cheaper than bullets and in this case, more fun. it would be an honor to do this with you.

Don't listen to msnbc
Don't listen to msnbc

fairness - what makes you think that these posters are "Christian?" They may just not like the fact that it appears that ONLY muslims are doing "Honor" - really DIS-honor killings. Muslims may commit fewer crimes in general - but you can't escape the fact that they are the ones commiting THESE crimes.

By the way - the USA is NOT 99% Christian - not even close!

 
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