An Iraqi immigrant confessed to detectives that he fatally stabbed his mother and injured his 14-year-old half brother at their El Cajon apartment two years ago, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday, while a defense attorney said his client was mentally ill.
Lawyer Solomon Chang said Mohammed Raad Agab grew up in a war-torn country and “saw horrific things” that resulted in mental illness.
In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar said the 22-year-old defendant told the first officer to arrive at the scene on May 30, 2014, that his family members were attacked by an intruder.
Agab, who was born in Baghdad, later recanted and confessed when questioned by detectives several hours later, Aguilar said.
The prosecutor said Agab — who is charged with murder and premeditated attempted murder — killed Majida Egab with a large knife she’d bought just a few days earlier.
“With the knife, he launched an unprovoked, murderous attack on his mother,” Aguilar told the jury. “He stabbed her 13 times, mostly in the back, which killed her.”
When his half brother came out of his bedroom after hearing screams, Agab pushed the boy into a bathroom and stabbed him, causing a serious chest wound, the prosecutor said.
Their 39-year-old mother went outside and screamed for help, but collapsed at the top of a set of stairs. Aguilar said the defendant went past her and out toward the street, where he hid the bloody knife in some bushes.
After he told arriving officers that someone else had attacked them, his brother pointed out Agab as the assailant, according to the prosecutor.
His parents divorced at age 2 and both later remarried, with his father resettling in Denver. His adolescence was spent shuttling between the U.S. and Middle East, punctuated by repeated suicide attempts, Chang said.
He said Agab’s half brother will testify that Agab’s mental condition was worse than ever in the days leading up to the attack.
Chang showed jurors a video clip of Agab being questioned by El Cajon police detectives, in which he described himself as “a messenger of God” who the FBI would collect in a few days to meet with the president and bring peace to the world.
In the video, Agab called his mother a “devil” and said he still planned to kill his half brother.
Chang conceded that his client committed the attack, but was unable to form the intent necessary to be convicted of the charges he faces.
If found guilty of murder, Agab faces a 25 years to life sentence, and the attempted murder charge could add another 11 years before he’s considered for parole, according to the prosecutor.
— City News Service
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