The jury found almost three weeks of testimony substantial enough to convict Khan of first-degree murder and weapons charges in the commission of the July 3, 2011, attack. They further found Khan guilty of endangering the welfare of his child, Samara, who was 8 at the time and asleep in a nearby bedroom during the slaying.
Shazmina Khan’s body was discovered in the early morning hours of July 4, 2011, in Shazmina’s bathtub by a friend of hers and Samara. Shazmina had been slashed across her throat three times and stabbed six times, according to testimony in Superior Court in Newark. Khalid sliced tendons in Shazmina’s arms, preventing her ability to defend herself during the attack, assistant prosecutor Rachel Gran said in closing arguments yesterday.
Khan, a native of Kenya, faces 30 years to life in New Jersey State Prison when he is sentenced Dec. 16, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
During Gran’s two-hour closing arguments Thursday afternoon, the jury appeared mesmerized by the prosecutor’s depiction of the crime.
Gran described the couple’s numerous domestic squabbles, including the time Khalid punched his wife in the eye, leaving it blue, which Samara witnessed and recounted in her testimony. After the couple separated and Shazmina was living with Samara in their second-floor apartment on Wheeler Street, Shazmina was moving on with her life, a life that included romantic interests in other men whom Khalid didn’t like, Gran described.
Gran’s description included the details of Shazmina’s last day alive. On the day of the murder, Khalid took Samara to the dentist followed by a trip to the home he shared with his mother on Broad Street in Bloomfield. When Khalid dropped Samara off at her Montclair home around 10 p.m., he came up with his daughter to theapartment. Samara quickly fell asleep in her bedroom after an exhausting day with her dad. Khalid then killed his wife, Gran said.
It was during a 40-minute window, until about 10:40 p.m., that Khalid killed his wife as Samara slept nearby and then left his daughter alone, Gran said.
“When he left the apartment and closed the door,” Gran said of Khalid, “he decided self preservation trumps all at the expense of an 8-year-old girl.”
In the alibi Khalid Khan created to try to fool law enforcement officials, he told investigators he had completely blanked out for the first time in his 42 years, and had no idea where he was or what he did until showing up unexpectedly at his girlfriend’s Bloomfield house around 11 p.m., Gran recounted to the jury.
Khan then borrowed her car, which he took to his home in Bloomfield, and changed out of the dark T-shirt and jeans he was wearing, jeans that contained both his and Shazmina’s blood, investigators would later find, Gran said.
Investigators would discover Shazmina’s blood on the inside of Khalid’s girlfriend’scar, according to court testimony, and a knife hidden in a dresser of his bedroom.
Around midnight, Samara awoke to find the bathroom door locked and her mother nowhere to be found. After contacting a neighbor, who testified that she used a butter knife to open the bathroom door, the pair found Shazmina in the bathtub.
“We believe justice was served with this verdict,” said Assistant Prosecutor Gina Iosim, who tried the case with Gran. “This is just a tragic case in which an 8-year-old girl lost her mother at the hands of her father.”