Members of the Somali community gather at the crime scene
Members of the City Heights Somali community gather at the crime scene in 2019. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A man convicted of murdering his wife at the couple’s City Heights apartment was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years to life in state prison.

Mohamed Abidaziz Kerow, 48, was convicted by a San Diego jury earlier this year of first-degree murder and a deadly weapon allegation for the death of 36-year-old Muna Salad Kuri.

The victim’s body was discovered by her sister on the morning of March 4, 2019, on a bed at the couple’s Van Dyke Avenue home. Prosecutors allege she was beaten, suffering skull fractures and sharp force injuries to her hands and arms.

In the days following her death, the San Diego Police Department identified Kerow as the suspect in Kuri’s killing and in a news release stated he had fled and was wanted for her murder.

Kerow was arrested more than two weeks later in Panama.

At his sentencing hearing, Kerow repeatedly denied killing his wife, both before and during victim impact statements delivered by Kuri’s family members.

“All I have to say is I love my wife and I did not kill my wife,” he said in court.

Some of Kuri’s family members said they suspected something was amiss with Kerow, but accepted him in their family because Kuri loved him.

One of Kuri’s sisters, Amiina Salad, called Kerow “a heartless, ungrateful, human being,” and later told him, “You say you loved her. No, you didn’t. You used her.”

Kuri’s nephew, Samir Abdirizak, said his aunt “was a person you could never really be sad around because her light was just too bright for us to feel like anything was wrong.” Abdirizak told Kerow, “You took her from us and we will never forgive you for that.”

Another of Kuri’s sisters, Fatima Salad, told him “She loved you with all of her heart. She trusted you. She thought you would protect her.”

Fatima Salad said Kerow had previously told her son, “Never put your hand on a female,” to which she responded Tuesday with “Shame on you.”

Ifrah Salad, another of Kuri’s sisters, said she wished to know why Kerow killed her, but conceded, “I guess we will never get those answers.”

San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Gallagher said the victim, who ran a local daycare center, was “the true essence of a wonderful humanitarian.”

Gallagher urged her loved ones in attendance, “Please continue and carry on her work. Carry on her love and carry on her legacy.”

City News Service contributed to this article.