The husband of an Iraqi-American woman who was beaten to death near San Diego in March has been arrested for her murder, police said on Friday.
Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was struck at least six times by a heavy object, suffering at least four skull fractures, and died of her injuries several days later.
A friend of the family, Sura Alzaidy, told the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper at the time that the note found near Alawadi read: "Go back to your own country. You're a terrorist."
While police at the time said they were considering hate as a motive, they warned against drawing such a conclusion. Court papers filed in the case later painted a portrait of a family in turmoil.
"There was not somebody running around doing hate crimes. This was a domestic violence incident," El Cajon Police Chief Jim Redman told a news conference to announce the arrest.
Alawadi's husband, 48-year-old Kassim Alhimidi, was arrested by police on Thursday for first-degree murder, and is being held without bail.
In April, a relative told detectives that the victim had "been planning on divorcing her husband and moving to the state of Texas." Divorce papers were found in her car.
The couple's 17-year-old daughter, home at the time of the attack, told police that she heard her mother squeal, followed by the sound of breaking glass, which she took to be her mother dropping a plate. Ten minutes later, she discovered her mother on the floor, and called 911.
Alawadi and her husband arrived in the United States in 1993. El Cajon is in east San Diego County, which is home to the second largest Iraqi community in the United States, behind Detroit. More than half of El Cajon's 100,000 residents are of Middle Eastern descent.
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