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Police arrest husband of slain Iraqi woman

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:09 PM EST, Mon November 12, 2012
Shaima Alawadi was beaten to death in her California home.
Shaima Alawadi was beaten to death in her California home.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kassim Al-Himidi is in custody on suspicion of murdering his Iraqi wife
  • Shaima Alawadi, 32, died in March after she was attacked at her home
  • A note beside the body called the family "terrorists," her daughter said
  • Police say now Alawadi's death was the result of domestic violence, not a hate crime

(CNN) -- Police in southern California have arrested the husband of a slain Iraqi woman -- whose death authorities first thought could have been a hate crime -- on suspicion of her murder.

Shaima Alawadi, 32, died from her injuries in March after she was brutally beaten at her home.

A note beside the body told the family to go back to Iraq and called them "terrorists," her daughter said. At the time, authorities did not rule out the possibility her death could have been a hate crime, though they said then they were examining other possibilities as well.

"After months of hard work by El Cajon Police Department detectives, we determined that this homicide was the result of domestic violence and not the result of a hate crime," said city Police Chief Jim Redman.

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Alawadi's husband, Kassim Al-Himidi, was arrested Thursday and booked at the San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of murder, he said.

According to authorities, Al-Himidi, 48, is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for an arraignment. It was not immediately clear whether he had retained an attorney.

His wife's death drew international attention.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki provided a plane that flew Alawadi's body back to Iraq, where the mother of five was buried. Dozens of people attended the funeral, including her husband.

Alawadi and Al-Himidi moved to the San Diego County area in 1995 and then briefly lived in Dearborn, Michigan, before moving back to California.

El Cajon, where the family lived, and Dearborn have sizable Iraqi communities -- among the nation's largest.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the attack on Alawadi an "absolutely brutal beating." She said in March that "authorities are continuing to search for motives behind this attack, but the United States has no tolerance for wanton acts of violence like this."

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