BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP/1010 WINS) -- A police detective said Tuesday that he hadn't finished shaking Muzzammil Hassan's hand upon meeting him before Hassan confessed to killing his wife.
The testimony in Erie County Court, part of a pretrial proceedings in Hassan's second-degree murder case, provided the first public account of what Hassan said when he walked into the police station last Feb. 12 and directed officers to his wife's body.
"I want to tell you that I just killed my wife and I'm here to turn myself in," Lt. Joseph Buccilli said Hassan calmly told him as he greeted him in the lobby.Yes, what's wrong with "people"? It must be the "Islamophobia" that compels them to associate Muslims with beheading.
"She's gone. There's no doubt about it," the 45-year-old Hassan said when Buccilli asked whether he was sure she was dead.
Officers then found 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan's stabbed and decapitated body inside the Muslim-oriented television station the couple had founded a few years earlier to counter negative media portrayals of Muslims.
Hassan's lawyers sought Tuesday's hearing as part of efforts to keep his statements to police out of his trial, questioning whether they were voluntary and if Hassan was properly read his rights or given access to an attorney.
"What may appear to be a voluntary statement to a lay person may not be voluntary under the law," attorney Julie Atti Rogers said outside the courtroom.
Within minutes of his conversation with Buccilli, Hassan was in handcuffs in the interrogation room and not free to leave the station, officers testified. He was read his Miranda rights more than two hours later and after officers went to Bridges TV and found the body, they said.
Hassan's attorneys plan to pursue a psychiatric defense which may include claims that Hassan was humiliated and abused at the hands of his wife. He had been served divorce papers less than a week before his arrest. The couple had two young children, who were outside in a van when Hassan spoke with police, witnesses said. They are now living with Aasiya's mother in Pakistan.
In court Tuesday, Rogers' co-counsel, Frank Bogulski, asked that Hassan be referred to as "Mo" in court instead of Muzzammil because he has gone by the shorter name for years. Neither the judge nor prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable would agree to the request.
Outside the courtroom, his lawyers said Hassan felt his name unfairly stereotyped him and that it was difficult enough in a post-9/11 society for a Muslim man to get a fair trial.
"People automatically make assumptions," Rogers said.