Afghan culture clash: Wife killer felt constantly disrespected by family, court hears
Published on Tuesday October 23, 2012
Video: Police interview murder suspect Peer Khairi
A video excerpt from a police interview with Peer Khairi, on trial for murdering his wife Randjida in 2008.
An Afghan immigrant told police he endured years of disrespect from his family, turning him suicidal, and was so stressed by his wife yelling at him during an argument about their son that he stabbed her and slit her throat.
Peer Khairi told police he was scolding his son for stealing “communications” — he did not elaborate — when his wife took the young man’s side, a Superior Court jury heard Tuesday
It was the culmination of years of contempt from his wife, Randjida, 53, and six children since he moved them to Canada for a better life, Khairi told Toronto homicide detectives.
“He couldn’t take any more when it happened,” said Det.-Sgt. Peter Code, recalling Khairi’s three-hour police statement on March 19, 2008, half a day after he called 911 to say his wife was lying “murdered” in their West Mall apartment.
In tears, Khairi used a metaphor to describe his state of mind, the officer said: “Even an elephant when it has too much weight on its back, it starts to moan or cry.”
The 65-year-old former hospital worker has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
Khairi admitted to police he stabbed his wife of 30 years and slit her throat, using a small and a large knife, Code told prosecutor Robert Kenny.
“Mr. Khairi advised me that he died today,” Code testified. “His life was now destroyed.”
Khairi tearfully recalled his first, secret wife, whom he deeply loved and lost to an accident.
He married Randjida and moved to India, where they raised their family for 11 years before eventually settling in Toronto.
“However, once they had moved to Canada, everything changed and his family started acting out against him,” Code recalled Khairi saying.
His two boys and four girls, all teenagers or adults, didn’t observe Afghan cultural traditions and dressed inappropriately, he complained. They went out at night and one daughter slept at her fiancé’s house, Khairi complained.
His wife sided with the children, who thought he was crazy, he said.
This caused him enormous stress, leading to insomnia, anger, frustration and attempted suicide by medications, Khairi reported. His wife no longer prepared his food or did his laundry, he said.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Christopher Hicks, Code agreed that Khairi said his wife was yelling so much he couldn’t think and was out of his mind when he stabbed her.
Code agreed Khairi called it a “terrible accident.”
The defence opens its case Wednesday.
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