Muzzammil Hassan in court on 2/1/11
Muzzammil Hassan consults with legal advisor on 2/1/11
BUFFALO, NY - Day 10 of the Muzzammil Hassan murder trial is underway with Hassan once again taking the stand in his own defense.
He told the jury, "Hi, welcome back."
Hassan told the judge last week that he will wrap up his testimony by the end of the day on Tuesday.
Two on Your Side's Pete Gallivan and Marissa Bailey are inside the courtroom, providing updates.
Hassan continued his narrative while on the stand. As of the lunch break he had made his way into talking about events from 2009, they year his wife Aasiya was beheaded. He says he was blindsided when Aasiya served him with divorce papers and he felt alienated by his family. He also says Aasiya accused him of cheating on her, and pulled a knife on him days before he killed her. Hassan, speaking to the jury about how he felt at the time, he says he "feels like a hostage at the mercy of a terrorist."
Hassan also testified that during their altercation at Bridges during which he beheaded her, Aasiya reached for a knife. He continued, "you know what happened you have seen the pictures." He said he beheaded his wife, but felt like it wasn't really him doing it. Hassan continued, saying he felt God gave him extra courage to do it. "There was a real sense of relief. I felt a sense of enormous peace. I felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders," said Hassan. He added he called his parents on the way to the Orchard Park Police Station to tell them what happened. When he arrived at the station, Hassan says officers had a hard time believeing that he did it. He said he felt "safe" once he was in police custody, and was "emotionally drained and wanted to sleep."
Hassan then started sobbing on the bench, saying that he was just "talking to god" when he was on his way to the police station after beheading Aasiya. He finished by telling the jury "that is my story, whatever you decide I will accept." He then blew his nose and sniffled as he packed up his notes and left the stand, and cried as he walked back to his assigned table in court.
Our reporter, Marissa Bailey, who is in court, says the jury looked "extremely interested" in Hassan's testimony.
Hassan's legal advisor, Jeremy Schwartz, told the court he has several subpoenas out for Wednesday and Thursday. Judge Thomas Franczyk said he would allow Hassan's children to testify and gave Hassan, who's acting as his own attorney, instructions about how to question them.
Schwartz then told the judge that they don't know the kids current addresses and asks that the prosecution's assistants reach out to the kids on Hassan's behalf. Court then ended and will resume at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
There was a half-day of testimony on Monday, day nine of the trial, so the court could conduct other business beforehand.
Testimony was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. but didn't start until 2:45 p.m. Court was delayed in part to a juror who arrived late but also because Hassan and the judge discussed emails the defendant wanted to submit into evidence.
Hassan continued with his more than 10 hours of testimony. Today marks his fourth day on the stand.
On Monday, Hassan focused on the time period from August 2007 to January 2008.
Hassan admitted to taking 10 sleeping pills one night because he felt "horrible." There were no medical records to back his claim, but he said it's the closest he's come to committing suicide.
Once the jury left the room, Hassan told the judge he didn't have any confirmed witnesses and asked that the prosecution's expert witness testify on behalf. That was something the judge advised against.
Hassan told Judge Thomas Franczyk on Friday that he should be done by this afternoon. Franczyk told him to spend the weekend trying to streamline his testimony. Earlier on Friday, the Judge warned him while the jurors were out of the courtroom, "please let's not parcel this out to such length that we're here until spring."
Day 8 in the Muzzammil Hassan
featured a short break in the defendant's narrative testimony, he suspended his testimony to call Amy Kiss to the stand. Kiss, a former classmate of Hassan at the University of Rochester, was called as a character witness. Hassan then continued his testimony.
- Hassan Trial Reporter's Notebooks
- Mo Hassan Holding Center Interview
- Courtroom Images from Thursday