How did this not make the news? If someone sneers at a Muslim it’s national hate crime news, but when a Muslim sets his wife on fire right here in the U.S. it doesn’t even make the headlines after two years.
A 41-year-old Palatka man who doused his first wife with lighter fluid and set her on fire two years ago was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Khalid Abeljawwad Mohd was found guilty in June of various charges related to the attack on Rema Jamel in March 27, 2010 after she asked him to help extend her visa.
“Mohd told her he would not help her and that he intended to bring his second wife from Jordan, where it is legal to have multiple wives, to live in Palatka,” the State Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Mohd then told her she could not take her children with her back to Jordan and he threatened to kill her and bury her in the back yard, the statement said.
She suffered second- and third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body. She testified at his two-day trial in June and during his sentencing hearing Wednesday.
She is permanently disfigured and in constant pain. Doctors told her she needs about a dozen more surgeries.
A jury deliberated for a little more than an hour in June before finding Mohd guilty of attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, arson and aggravated battery causing serious bodily injury with a weapon.
“Based on the violent nature of the crime and the long term injury inflicted, a life sentence is the only appropriate sentence allowed by law for this defendant,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a statement.
“Rema Jamel was completely defenseless. She did not provoke him. She was attacked by her husband, had lighter fluid thrown on her by surprise and was unconscious when he lit a match to her body,” he said. “This life sentence will prevent the defendant from inflicting any more violence on anyone else again.”
Circuit Judge Patti A. Christensen sentenced Mohd.
When she was taken to Putnam Community Medical Center after being burned, Mohd told officials she had a grilling accident. Later, he said that she set herself on fire.
A police report said she told officials Mohd got so angry with her, she tried to call police. But he removed the phone line from the wall so she couldn’t call. Then she tried to go to a neighbor’s house, and that’s when he sprayed lighter fluid on her.
“She stated that when she went to the front door to leave, Mohd pushed her to the floor in the living room causing her to blackout,” the report said. She “stated she remembers walking up in the hospital with her body burned.”
Her two children were playing on the trampoline when she was attacked. Both told police they heard their parents arguing and they said their mother on fire with “yellow stuff” dripping from her body.