A man who allegedly murdered his wife at the couple’s City Heights apartment, then fled the country, was ordered Friday to stand trial on a murder charge.
Moxamed Abidaziz Kherow, 46, is accused in the death of 36-year-old Muna Kuri, whose bloodied body was discovered by her sister on the morning of March 4, 2019, on a bed at their Van Dyke Avenue home.
A deputy medical examiner testified it is believed Kuri died sometime between 9 p.m. March 2 and 6 a.m. March 3 from blunt force trauma that caused skull fractures, among numerous other injuries. In addition to injuries prosecutors allege may have been inflicted with a wooden stick, Kuri also sustained sharp force injuries to her hands and arms. Investigators found a broken knife at the scene.
Testimony at Friday’s preliminary hearing indicated Kherow called two of his wife’s sisters and claimed he had been sexually assaulted by a man, and that Kuri may have sent a video recording of it to his sisters. He claimed to an investigator that this man killed Kuri and later kidnapped Kherow and forced him across the U.S.-Mexico border, though a homicide detective testified there was no evidence to corroborate this.
Kherow was arrested March 20 in Panama, where he was allegedly attempting to secure documentation for travel out of the country, according to testimony.
The victim’s younger sister, Amiina Salad, testified that Kuri was supposed to attend a wedding on the night of March 2, but canceled at the last minute, stating first that she had nothing to wear, then saying she wasn’t feeling well.
Salad and her other sisters became concerned when Kuri never showed, and didn’t respond to numerous phone calls, which Salad said was unlike Kuri.
She phoned Kherow the next day, who told her “Your sister did me wrong” in making the alleged sex video, which Salad denied ever receiving.
When Salad asked where her sister was, Kherow immediately hung up, Salad testified.
Salad later requested entry into Kuri’s apartment from Kuri’s landlord and a maintenance man let her in. She found Kuri’s body in the master bedroom.
Another of Kuri’s sisters, Tegest Alemu, said she received a video from one of Kuri’s friends, in which the victim was removing makeup, which revealed numerous facial injuries. Kuri made statements indicating she’d been beaten, Alemu said, but Kherow was not mentioned in the video.
As Kuri’s family searched for her, Alemu also spoke to Kherow on the phone. He made similar statements regarding being sexually assaulted by a man, and laid the blame on Kuri.
On the morning of March 4, Kherow was seen driving Kuri’s Ford Explorer into the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego, according to surveillance footage played at the hearing.
The cabbie testified that the man he encountered asked for a ride to Chula Vista.
However, when Kherow parked Kuri’s SUV and began unloading it, the cabbie said he noticed a spot of blood on Kherow’s shirt. Kherow also pulled a wooden stick out of the trunk, which had blood on it, according to the driver.
The cabbie testified that Kherow had told him he’d been in a fight with friends and cut his hand, to explain the blood. The cab driver said he decided it wasn’t worth the risk and declined to give Kherow a ride.
Kuri’s SUV was found at the Otay Mesa border crossing about two months after Kherow’s arrest, according to testimony from a homicide detective.
Kherow, who’s being held in the San Diego Central Jail on $5 million bail, is due to return to court March 12 for a Superior Court arraignment.