Muzzammil Hassan Update: Trial Begins for New York Man Accused of Stabbing and Beheading His Wife

In this photo made available by Bridges TV, Muzzammil Hassan, and his wife Aasiya Hassan of Orchard Park, NY, near Buffalo, pose in an undated photo. Police say Hassan beheaded his wife after she filed for divorce.
AP Photo/Bridges TV
Muzzammil Hassan: Trial Begins for New York Man Accused of Stabbing and Beheading His Wife
Muzzammil Hassan and his wife Aasiya Hassan (AP Photo/Bridges TV)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBS/WIVB/AP) Jurors sat in silence Tuesday during opening arguments in the second-degree murder trial of Muzzammil Hassan, the western New York man accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, who had recently filed for divorce.

Prosecutors said Hassan, the former executive of a Muslim-oriented television station, killed his wife Aasiya in a final act of domination and control.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Bonnano told the jury that Hassan, 46, used two hunting knives to stab his 37-year-old wife, a dozen times and saw off her head, reports CBS affiliate WIVB.

"After murdering his wife Aasiya, Hassan calmly went to the Orchard Park police station and told police he murdered his wife," Bonanno said.

Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz stepped in to defend his client's act, claiming Hassan was a victim of years of abuse at home and was emotionally distressed at the time of the murder, says WIVB.

"Numerous times throughout their marriage, Aasiya unleashed physical and psychological attacks," Schwartz told the courtroom.

Despite the conflicting images, both the prosecution and the defense agree that Hassan killed his wife on February 12, 2009 at Bridges TV, a television station they had co-founded with the hopes of countering negative images of Muslims after 9/11.

Surveillance video from the day Aasiya was murdered shows Hassan, who stands over 6 feet tall, testing the sharpness of the hunting knives he bought at Wal-Mart two hours before the killing.

On that same day, he is captured on video at the TV station were he surprised his wife from behind after luring her there to drop off clothes for him, Bonanno said.

"He killed Aasiya and desecrated her body because six days earlier, she had dared file for divorce, dared to seek a better life for herself and her children. The defendant could not and would not tolerate that," Bonanno said.

As the trial continues, Bonanno plans to use evidence and testimony from the suspect's own children, the victim's stepchildren, in order to prove that Aasiya Hassan was the one who was repeatedly beaten and terrorized.

January 18, 2011 - Muzzammil Hassan: Man Accused of Beheading Wife Says He's the Victim