New York: A Pakistani-American TV
executive stabbed his wife 40 times and then sawed off her head because she "dared to file for divorce", prosecutors told a New York jury in opening arguments.
Muzzammil Hassan (46), founder of a television network
in US to counter negative perceptions about Muslims post 9/11
attacks, has been charged with second-degree murder for
killing his estranged wife Aasiya Hassan on February 12, 2009.
Hassan used two hunting knives to kill Aasiya, whose
body was found in a hallway of the TV office with severed head
several feet away, Erie County District Attorney Paul Bonanno
told jurors as reported by the Post Chronicle.
Aasiya was stabbed 40 times and her head was
sawed off, Bonanno said, asserting that the 37-year-old woman
was killed because she "had dared to file for divorce, dared
to seek a better life for herself and her children."
The Pakistan-born victim was killed a week after she
filed for divorce after being married for nine years.
Hassan has pleaded not guilty to the charge of
Jeremy Schwartz, the defence attorney, argued that
Hassan had killed his wife, but he was a battered spouse.
"Hassan killed his wife, but he is not guilty of murder in the
second degree," Schwartz said.
"I am not going to tell you that what happened is
right," he was quoted as saying by the newspapers. "I am not
going to tell you that what happened is somehow endorsed by
religion or culture, and I am not going to tell you that
Aasiya Hassan deserved it, but there are two sides to the
Aasiya threatened his client with a knife just hours
before she was killed, the defence counsel said, adding that
she also threatened to poison him and take the children away.
The police found the body of Aasiya in his office
after the accused himself went to the police station.
Pointing out that Hassan surrendered, he said, "His actions
were not of a man who was simply trying to murder a human
being...they were of a man unleashing emotion from almost a
decade, in a way that is almost inexplicable."