Mo Hassan in court on 1/18/2011
hassan; trial; sketch
BUFFALO, NY - Soon after the jury returned from lunch, the judge denied Mo Hassan's request for permission to cross examine his own daughter and her babysitter if they are called to the stand.
The request came as the jury had quite a bit of information to digest from the morning of day 2 in Mo Hassan 2nd degree murder trial.
2 On Your Side's Pete Gallivan will be providing up-to-the-minute information from inside the courtroom where cameras are not allowed.
The prosecution has called Jennifer Greer to the stand. Greer was the family babysitter.
Greer testified today that she was playing outside with the kids in August 2006 when she saw Mo and Aasiya came out the side door.
She said they came outside and proceeded down the sidewalk toward the driveway. She said she couldn't make out what was being said, but says Aasiya was trying to get to her car, she was trying to get away. She says Mo snatched keys out of Aasiya's hand and that every time Aasiya moved, Mo got in her way.
Greer says she took the kids inside the house, that she thought it was inappropriate for them to witness a fight. She heard Aasiya screaming from the driveway, and she saw Mo had Aasiya by the head and hair and was dragging her across the driveway. She said Mo dragged Aasiya behind her car so that they couldn't be seen from the street. She says Mo sat on Aasiya's stomach with all of his weight and that Aasiya was screaming for help. Greer says she took the kids and left the house after calling police for help.
She says the children stayed with her because Aasiya was sick following that incident.
Greer recounts another incident in October 2007. She said she planned to drive Aasiya to the airport and went to the house to pick up Aasiya. But, she says when she got there, Aasiya said the flight was cancelled, but she still wanted to go to NYC and had booked another flight. They got the kids ready quickly, while the Mo Hassan was taking a shower. She says they packed up and left before Mo was out of the shower. Greer says after she, Aasiya and the kids left the house, Mo got into his car and followed them down the road. She said Mo was behind her, weaving in and out of traffic approaching her car quickly.
She says at one point, Mo Hassan swerved towards her car, but didn't hit it. She then braked and stopped in the road, afraid Mo was going to hit her car. She said he pulled in front of her car and stared at them in the rear view mirror. She testified that he eventually left and that they went to Target to hide from Mo.
Greer said she stopped babysitting for the Hassan family the following year.
Sonia Hassan, the defendant's 20-year-old daughter, took the stand following lunch and described an abusive relationship. She told the jury Aasiya Hassan never abused her husband.
Sonia recalled a few months before Aasiya died, she (Aasiya) gave Sonia a bag of documents to hold onto to keep others from finding them. Included in that bag was a memo of understanding between mo and Aasiya outlining their relationship. It stated that Aasiya agreed not to call police, the courts or CPS in relation to our relationship, and agree not to threaten any of the above.
Sonia also described a April 2008 incident where at one point she heard a very loud crash and scream. Sonia, began to break down as she described how Aasiya was covered in blood. "She came down and she was bleeding from her nose, it was everywhere."
Sonia says Mo was hovering over her saying I'm sorry, but at the same time, saying she deserved it. Sonia says she wanted to take her to the hospital, but Mo would not let her go.
Sonia also testified that her father sent her "lots of letters". In one letter she says, Mo Hassan stated that he would release all of his cars, finances and wealth if she agreed not to speak ill of him to anyone and agreed to visit him.
Sonia, who called her father "Mo", says he wanted to talk about his feelings with her regarding their relationship. Sonia says "his main worry was that I didn't respect him up to his standards..."
The prosecution's seventh witness, Michael Hassan, the son of the defendant took the stand in the morning. Much of the testimony detailed several incidents of domestic violence within the extended family. Michael is Mo's son from a previous marriage.
One such incident involved a fight in which Michael said Mo "took a swipe" at his sister Sonia. Michael testified that he then jumped at his father and the two exchanged punches, before Aasiya tried to break it up. In the aftermath, Michael, 15 at the time, was left with a cut nose, and Aasiya a black eye.
Mo Hassan's son said he was "nervous" for his step-mother, after she filed divorce papers. His powerful testimony has highlighted day two of Hassan's murder case in Erie County Court.
During cross examination, defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz began by asking Michael "you don't like your father very much do you?" To which the younger Hassan replied "no".
Much of the defense line of questioning concentrated on whether Michael ever actually saw Mo Hassan strike Aasiya during those incidents, or whether he even heard what the arguments were about.
On the topic of the defense's strategy, Schwartz says the line between a justified homicide defense and a mental health defense can dovetail each other.
Schwartz also said on Wednesday morning that he believes the trial will last about two weeks.
The first witness for the prosecution was Thomas Dunning, a legal administrator with Hogan Willis. Dunning testified about serving Hassan with divorce papers at the Bridges TV studio in Orchard Park.
The second witness Wednesday morning was Joseph Rizzo, an Orchard Park police officer. Rizzo responded to a domestic call at the Hassan home on February 6th, 2009 and found no evidence of a crime. Rizzo was also on duty when Hassan walked into the Orchard Park Police station on February 12th, 2009 and admitted to killing his wife.
Michael Hassan was the next witness to speak. He is Hassan's biological son from a previous marriage. Michael had been living with Mo and Aasiya since 2004. He says he has witnessed Hassan physically abuse Aasiya in the past. He specifically referred to incidents in 2007, in which the entire family was involved in an altercation inside the family home.
Michael remembers being very nervous the day the divorce papers were filed and the day Aasiya went to the studio to drop off the clothes. He saw his father come out of the building after his mother hadn't returned.
Michael Hassan told jurors he "didn't want to have anything to do with his father." When asked by defense lawyers, "You don't like your father very much, do you?", Michael responded, "No."
Hassan admitted to killing his wife, Aasiya, in February 2009 in the Orchard Park television studio they owned and operated together.
We'll have new video and constant updates on wgrz.com and via our Twitter page.
Stay tuned to Channel 2 News First at Five for complete coverage of today's developments.
On day one of the Mo Hassan trial, jurors viewed several graphic pieces of evidence, including blood-stained clothes and full pictures of Aasiya's body before the autopsy.
The first day finished with testimony from Erie County pathologist Mark LeVaughn.
Before the trial started on Tuesday, three jurors were excused and replaced with alternates. This leaves just one alternate juror left for a case that is expected to last three to four weeks. If fewer than 12 jurors are left, a mistrial will be declared.