Just back from downtown Phoenix's county courthouse, where Faleh Almaleki has been sentenced to 34 1/2 years behind bars for the 2009 murder of his daughter Noor and near-murder of another woman.
The hearing included a short outburst by Marwan Khalaf, who was Noor's boyfriend when Faleh ran her and Amal Khalaf (Marwan's mother) down with his Jeep Cherokee in a Peoria parking lot. Khalaf had to be subdued by sheriff's deputies, and was escorted from the courtroom as his mother sobbed in the front row of the packed spectators gallery.
Judge Roland Steinle became choked with emotion as he expounded for more than 20 minutes about the case, which he deemed the most difficult in his six-plus years on the Superior Court bench.
The judge invoked the following names (plus many more) before he imposed sentence: Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed, Gandhi, Buddha, Clarence Darrow, the Sufi Poets, John Adams, the Chicago 7, Leopold and Loeb.
Actually, much of what Steinle had to say was profound, including this characterization of the Iraqi-born defendant, who escaped with his family to the United States from Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime and became a citizen here.
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"To me, [you] became Saddam Hussein in Phoenix," the judge said.
Again, the sentencing in this tragic case, which we wrote about in an extensive piece last year -- here you go -- is worth spending some more time on,. So take a peek at our print edition next week.