Only accused knows how he killed his wife, court hears

Lawyer Christopher Hicks, Jusstice Robert Clark, accused Peer Khairi and an interpreter watch as Khairi breaks down while on the witness stand. Khairi claims self-defence in the murder of his wife

Credits: Courtroom sketch by Pam Davies


TORONTO -- It was a flash of the frightening temper that lurks in the bitter, enraged wife killer.

Glaring at the jury, fed up with two days of questioning by the female Crown attorney, Peer Khairi angrily insisted that only he knows how he killed his wife -- not the experts, not the police and certainly not the prosecution.

Without flinching as he jabbed his index finger at the graphic crime scene photo before him -- his wife Randjida's body lying drained of blood on his bed, her throat slit through to the spine -- the Afghan immigrant maintained that he wrestled a small knife from her hand, stabbed her once or twice in the torso and then slashed her "with little pressure" across the neck with a larger knife.

"What I did, even the police wouldn't understand. Would you agree with that?" asked the glowering Khairi. "Who would understand better? The police or me? Who would understand better, the doctors or me? This is what I did," he said through a Dari interpreter.

Prosecutor Amanda Camara had called him a liar -- suggesting the physical evidence doesn't support his latest rendition of what happened in the Khairis' west-end apartment that day: There were no signs of a struggle, and the forensic pathologist testified that Randjida's throat was slit through to the bone at least five minutes before she was stabbed five times in the torso. The blood-spatter expert also concurred that the first wound was to her neck, which caused the massive spray of blood on the wall from her sliced carotid artery.

"The version you've given us in court is not the truth," the Crown charged. "On March 18, 2008, you knew Randjida was going to leave you and this was your chance to stop her from leaving.

"You grabbed the long knife and you slit Randjida's throat with such force that you cut through her neck muscles. You cut through her veins, her voice box and into her spine."

"Completely wrong," sputtered Khairi. "I know what I did."

On trial for second-degree murder, he insists this is the first time he is giving a full account of how and why he killed his wife of 30 years.

Now 65 or 68 or 75 depending on his different accounts, Khairi has spoken at length about the killing to homicide detectives and psychiatrists and has offered various woe-is-me stories: he lost his mind, she was going to leave him, she was allowing their kids to stray from his strict Muslim upbringing, she'd begun asserting her new Canadian rights as a woman and wouldn't even get him a cup of tea.

But despite these many interviews, some as recent as this past March, Khairi now denies making most of those statements. Instead, he has pinned his innocence on a tale of provocation and self-defence.

Until this trial, he'd never mentioned that his 53-year-old wife, 5-foot-1 and suffering from epilepsy and tuberculosis, suddenly came at him with a knife. He never mentioned that she hurled insults at him so vile and abhorrent that they could not be ignored.

"I've never told the whole truth until now," Khairi explained.

Camara suggested he fabricated the entire story, blaming his victim when he really had every intention of killing the woman he still hates for shaming and dishonouring him.

"The reason you didn't mention to police that Randjida attacked you with a knife or used foul language is because it didn't happen," she insisted. "If there had been insulting words used, if she had come at you with a knife, you would have told (psychiatrist) Dr. Gulati."

He said he was saving it all up for his day in court.

But even in this latest "self-defence" version, Khairi told the court that once he got the knife away from her and pushed his wife on to the bed, "she wasn't a danger" anymore -- and still he stabbed her to death.

"On March 18, 2008, Randjida died because you wanted her dead," Camara charged.

"If I knew that, Randjida would have known this, too," was Khairi's confusing retort in reply.

And with no further questions, the angry old man left the stand. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.

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