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  1. #1

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    Abdul Awkal - Ohio Death Row



    Summary of Offense:

    On January 7, 1992, Awkal murdered his estranged wife, 22-year-old Latife Awkal, and his brother-in-law, 24-year-old Mahmoud Abdul-Aiz, at the Cuyahoga Domestic Relations Court. Awkal was angry at Mrs. Awkal and Mr. Abdul-Aiz because Mrs. Awkal had filed for divorce and custody of their 16-month-old daughter. Awkal chased Mrs. Awkal and Mr. Abdul-Aiz into a room in the courthouse and shot them both at close range. Awkal was arrested in the courthouse, and he later confessed to police.

  2. #2

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    March 17, 2009

    Federal appeals panel rules for Ohio death row inmate Awkal in courthouse double slaying


    In Cincinnati, a federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a death row inmate who fatally shot his estranged wife and her brother in a Cuyahoga County courthouse.

    Two of the three judges on a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel agreed with Abdul Awkal that his trial defense counsel was ineffective. Trying to show that Awkal was not guilty by reason of insanity, the defense called a psychiatrist who testified that he was sane at the time of the shootings.

    The Lebanese-born man was sentenced to death after being convicted of 2 counts of aggravated murder in 1992.

    The panel majority ruled that Ohio must give Awkal a new trial or release him.

    Awkal's appellate attorney Brian Moriarty expects the state to appeal the ruling. A message was left with the attorney general's office.

    (source: Associated Press)

  3. #3

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    March 17, 2009

    Case Background:


    A man sentenced to death for killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law inside Lakeside Courthouse received ineffective counsel and should be retried or freed, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

    A panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati voted 2-1 to overturn Abdul Awkal's two aggravated murder convictions.

    The majority opinion was that Awkal was ill-served by an expert witness called to testify on his behalf during the guilt phase of the trial. Awkal's defense had argued he was insane at the time of the crime, but the expert witness said he believed Awkal was sane.

    Awkal shot Latife Awkal and her brother, Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, in 1992 before a scheduled meeting in the family conciliation services office of the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court on Lakeside Avenue.

    Awkal then tried to get away, clutching his 15-month-old daughter and pointing his gun at himself and then her. A sheriff's deputy shot Awkal in the back. He was arrested in the courthouse basement.

    The appellate decision states that Awkal must be retried within 180 days or set free.

    County Prosecutor Bill Mason said Awkal deserves the same fate as his victims.

    The office will appeal the ruling. An appeal could be made to a full panel of 6th Circuit judges or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Awkal, 50, came to the United States from Lebanon when he was 24 and settled in Detroit. He suffered a mental breakdown in 1985 after being accused of stealing from the gas station where he worked, according to information in the 6th Circuit filing.

    He eventually went to work for General Motors and was transferred to the Parma plant.

    He was introduced to Latife after coming to the Cleveland area.

    They married but had issues. She told him on their honeymoon that she didn't love him, but that she would grow to love him.

    Things did not get better.

    Latife and her family felt Awkal was not a good Muslim. They were critical of him because of his musical tastes and because he enjoyed Christian holidays.

    Awkal believed his wife's family interfered with their marriage.

    After learning that her husband had given her a venereal disease, Latife filed for divorce. Distraught, Awkal sought counseling for depression and suicidal thoughts, according to the filing.

    The couple were scheduled to meet over custody of their daughter when the confrontation occurred at the courthouse. Awkal testified that he asked his wife to return to him but that she refused. He went to his car to get his gun intent on killing himself in front of her. He said he tried to hug his baby one last time, but that his brother-in-law confronted him.

    Awkal testified that his brother-in-law's "face 'turn[ed] into that of a monster' and that the walls then collapsed," according to the filing. He claimed to not remember the shootings.

    Among those called to testify on Awkal's behalf was Dr. Magdi Rizk, who conducted pretrial sanity and competency evaluations. Although some of Rizk's testimony supported Awkal, he also stated that he believed Awkal was sane at the time of the murders.

    "Defense counsel's decision to call Rizk was so damaging to Awkal's defense that even the prosecutor openly wondered why counsel made this choice," stated Judge Karen Moore in her majority opinion, which was joined by Judge Guy Cole.

    The state's indication that it would have called Rizk to testify if the defense had not "does not change our conclusion that Awkal was prejudiced by his counsel's objectively unreasonable decision to call Rizk."

    In his dissent, Judge Ronald Gilman stated he did not believe Rizk's testimony singlehandedly destroyed Awkal's insanity claim, especially given that another expert witness said she believed he was insane at the time.

    He also doesn't believe the other judges have "adequately accounted for the fact that the prosecution would have called Rizk to testify that Awkal was sane at the time of the offense if the defense had not done so first."

    http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaind...750.xml&coll=2

  4. #4

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    On July 23, 2010, Awkal was denied a Certificate of Appealability by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

    Opinion is here:

    http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions...0a0214p-06.pdf

  5. #5

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    July 23, 2010


    CLEVELAND, Ohio — Abdul Awkal is back on death row for killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law inside Lakeside Courthouse in Cleveland.

    A three-member panel of appellate judges overturned the 51-year-old former Cleveland resident’s two murder convictions in March 2009, but the full 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decided otherwise Thursday.

    The judges decided 10-4 to uphold a lower court ruling that denied Awkal’s claim that he received ineffective counsel and should be retried or freed.

    Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason applauded the ruling.

    “His execution is long overdue,” Mason said. “He shook the foundation of the legal system and I am pleased an overwhelming majority of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Awkal’s death sentence should be affirmed. However, I am certain this murderer will continue his legal maneuvering to delay his walk to the death chamber.”

    “There is no dispute that Awkal shot and killed his estranged wife and brother-in-law,” wrote Judge Ronald Gilman for the majority. “The trial instead focused on whether he was legally insane at the time of the crime, and the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that he was not.”

    Awkal shot Latife Awkal and her brother, Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, in 1992 before a meeting in the family conciliation services office of the Domestic Relations Court on Lakeside Aveneue.

    Awkal, 51, had come to the Untied States from Lebanaon when he was 24, settling in Detroit and then the Cleveland area. His marriage to Latife was troubled form the start. Latife and her family felt Awkal was not a good Muslim.

    Latife filed for divorce after learning her husband gave her a venereal disease. Awkal became distraught.

    The shooting occurred prior to a meeting over custody of their child. Awkal claimed he planned to kill himself and that he tried to hug his baby when his brother-in-law interfered.

    http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/...-to-death-row/

  6. #6
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    In today's US Supreme Court orders petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis denied.

  7. #7
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    According to the Ohio Attorney General's capital crime report, an execution date has been requested for Mr. Awkal.

  8. #8
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    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The Ohio Supreme Court has set execution dates for a Cleveland man who killed his wife and brother-in-law and a northeast Ohio man who repeatedly stabbed a teen who interrupted a burglary.

    The dates announced Tuesday are some of the farthest in the future set in recent years by the court, which schedules when death row inmates die.

    The court set an April 18, 2012 execution date for 48-year-old Mark Wiles, who killed 15-year-old Mark Klima (KLEE'-muh) at a farmhouse in Portage County in 1985.

    The court also set a June 6, 2012 execution date for 52-year-old Abdul Awkal (ab-DUHL' AW'-kuhl) of Cleveland, who killed estranged wife Latife Awkal (la-TEEFF'-eh AW'-kuhl) and brother-in-law Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz (MAKH'-mood ab-DUHL'-ah-ZEEZ') in 1992, in a room in Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County Domestic Relations Court.

    Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/art...#ixzz1PGW3mH7J

  9. #9
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    Exclusive: Death row inmate blames the courts for criminals like the Cleveland Strangler

    An explosive letter sent to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor blames the courts and the prisons for serial killers like the Cleveland Strangler.

    Abdul Awkal is scheduled to die next June for the 1992 murders of his wife and her brother.

    After learning of the news, he wrote a letter to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason stating, "I imagine you now with a big smile on your face. You stupid ---- are creating serial killers!"

    Anthony Sowell, meantime, is on trial for killing 11 women and attacking others.

    Prosecutor Mason says he believes Awkal wrote the letter because he "believes what's happening is he's seeing the window close on him."

    Mason also tells 19 Action News that he's never gotten a letter like this.

    "You ---- had cost me all these pains and suffering," wrote Abdul Awkal.

    "It's interesting watching him now being held accountable for his own actions and he's now blaming me for what he did," said Prosecutor Bill Mason. "Who knows what goes on in the minds of these guys who commit these horrific acts. The only thing in common is they're both death penalty cases."

    The letter came after decades of appeals.

    http://www.woio.com/story/15009835/e...land-strangler

  10. #10
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    I get the feeling that he is going to regret that letter when it comes to his clemency hearing.

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