Jurors this morning listened to closing arguments in the Ali-Mohamed Mohamud murder trial, with defense attorneys saying prosecutors never proved intent. “He never meant to kill him,” defense lawyer Kevin Spitler said, urging jurors not to convict Mohamud of second-degree murder for killing his 10-year-old stepson, Abdifatah.
While Mohamud has admitted killing the boy, prosecutors did not prove the other element of the case needed to win a murder conviction, that he intended to kill him, Spitler said.
“I’m not standing here telling you Mr. Mohamud did not kill his son,” Spitler said. “What I am telling you is he did not do that intentionally.”
Prosecutors have said Mohamud struck Abdifatah about 70 times with a baker’s hardwood rolling pin, shattering the boy’s skull, leaving bruises all over his body, breaking two ribs and damaging his internal organs.
Of the blows, four were lethal on their own.
Prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty said any one of the blows - an adult striking a child using a rolling pin inflicting “one devastating blow after another” - showed Mohamud’s intent to murder the boy.
“A person who should have been his protector was instead his murderer,” Finnerty said of Mohamud.
The rolling pin caused 11 distinct injuries to the boy’s head. “Why would you be using this,” Finnerty said, holding the rolling pin during his closing argument, ”and why hit him there? That’s enough for intentional murder alone.” Spitler asked jurors to make a “courageous” and “difficult” decision in acquitting Mohamud. But Finnerty told jurors their hard part - listening to the testimony, watching the gruesome crime-scene video and looking at autopsy photos - was over. “Your verdict, with all due respect, is easy,” Finnerty said.
Jurors will begin deliberating after hearing legal instructions from State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns.
Medical examiner describes boy’s fatal injuries: http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121017/CITYANDREGION/121019303