(CBS/AP) Faleh Almaleki, an Iraqi immigrant charged with killing his daughter in a suburban Phoenix parking lot, acknowledged under questioning by police that he intentionally ran her over, a detective testified Wednesday.
Almaleki nodded his head to agree when specifically asked if he meant to hurt his daughter, Noor, during one part of a lengthy police interview, Peoria, Ariz. detective Christopher Boughey testified at Almaleki's murder trial.
Prosecutor Laura Reckart played a recording in which Boughey and another detective confronted Almaleki with their suspicions that he ran over Noor Almaleki because she had become too westernized and brought disrespect to the family. The 20-year-old was walking with her boyfriend's mother, Amal Khalaf, in Oct. 2009, when they both were struck; the older woman survived and was expected to testify Thursday.
"My main goal in this was to find out what happened including the honor and disrespect issue," Boughey said of the questioning.
The testimony came in the second week of Almaleki's trial on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of an accident.
Almaleki has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer said during her opening statement that the truck driver from southern Iraq was angry at the older woman and was trying to drive by her to spit on her when the woman jumped in front of his van. He swerved but could not avoid hitting her and running over his daughter. He panicked and fled after the accident, making his way to Mexico and then to London, where he was detained by customs officials and returned to the U.S.
The detectives met him at the airport in Atlanta and questioned him there.
Reckart repeatedly asked Boughey on Wednesday if Almaleki asked about his daughter's condition during questioning, during the flight from Atlanta to Phoenix or while being booked. No, the detective said, never.
Prosecutors contend Almaleki was increasingly incensed at his daughter's failure to obey him and believed she had dishonored the family by becoming too westernized. When he saw her by chance while visiting a state Department of Economic Security office in Peoria on Oct. 20, 2009, his rage overflowed, they say.
Noor Almaleki lived for 13 more days, dying shortly after her father was returned to Phoenix.
Khalaf and her husband were longtime friends of the Almaleki family, who had taken in her son's girlfriend, Noor, after she became estranged from her family.