Store owner on trial for 2009 murder
By Gary Popp
Published in News on June 3, 2011 1:46 PM
Mohssen Ali Almogaded
Jury deliberation was to begin this morning in the first-degree murder trial of Mohssen Ali Almogaded, who is accused of killing a man during a fight at his business nearly two years ago.
The prosecution and defense finished making closing arguments Thursday afternoon in Wayne County Superior Court.
Almogaded, 43, is being tried for the June 29, 2009, death of Terry Lavone Singleton.
Almogaded, the owner of Bob's Market No. 2 on South Slocumb Street, and Singleton, who was 31 years old at the time of his death, were involved in an altercation that resulted in Almogaded stabbing Singleton in the back with a knife.
Almogaded's defense attorney, Geoff Hulse, has argued that his client acted in self-defense.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge disputes that claim and said Almogaded had become so unhinged by repeated tormenting by Singleton, who lived a few doors from the market, that he murdered him.
The fight happened about 5:45 p.m. According to testimony, it began as a verbal dispute between the two men outside of the Almogaded's business.
Only four days before the incident, Almogaded had taken out a warrant against Singleton that made it illegal for Singleton to come onto the business property.
Through the use of an interpreter, Almogaded, a native of Yemen, said from the witness stand Thursday that he feared Singleton and that he had received threats from him on multiple occasions.
During his closing arguments, Delbridge claimed that Almogaded, who has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years, had used the language barrier to his advantage during the trial.
Delbridge also argued that the physical dispute between the 5-foot 4-inch tall Almogaded and the 6-foot 1-inch Singleton left Almogaded with no signs he had been physically harmed before stabbing Singleton.
Hulse told jurors that Almogaded was a law-abiding citizen who was in pursuit of the American dream and that he had only been defending himself from what he considered deadly force.
Hulse noted that Almogaded had taken the proper steps to acquire a business license and driver's license and that he paid taxes regularly.
Hulse told the jury that the prosecution did not prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt" and that the jurors would have to make a "giant leap to convict this man of murder or manslaughter."
Delbridge said the circumstances showed Almogaded had no provocation to attack Singleton.
"He doesn't have clean hands. He killed a man, and he should not have."
Almogaded could be found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or found not guilty.
Judge Arnold Jones is presiding over the case.