Giti Khairi, daughter of accused Peer Khairi, outside court hiding under police officer's jacket.
Credits: Sam Pazzano/Toronto Sun/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO -- Peer Khairi's children came to court to plead for their father, to sing his praises and beg for mercy, but said not a word about the dead mother he viciously killed and almost beheaded.
Not a word.
And therein lies the tragedy of this sad, sad case, that Randjida Khairi was brutally slain because she dared to stand up to her Afghan immigrant husband and defend their six children against his controlling wrath. But in return, they now speak only in defence of her killer and express not an ounce of sorrow or anger about what he'd done.
As if she never meant anything to them at all.
Writing on behalf of his five adult siblings, youngest son Ajmal Khairi implored Justice Robert Clark to return their father to his family as quickly as possible. Convicted of second-degree murder, Khairi, 65, received an automatic life sentence for the March 2008 slaying but Clark was to determine when he would be eligible to apply for parole.
"Although we have not attended court," the son wrote, "there is not a day goes by that we do not think about my father."
About their father? But what of their dead mother?
Not a single victim impact statement was filed about what Randjida meant to them. No photograph was released so the court could see the 53-year-old as she appeared in life, and not as the mutilated body she was in the morgue. And in their testimony, two of his daughters did their best to downplay his reign of abuse.
Always protecting him, while no one protected their mother.
"We all love my father dearly. We support him even when he is in jail," the son continued.
They support a man who grabbed a butcher knife and sliced right through their mother's neck until she was almost decapitated. A man who then used a smaller folding knife to stab her five times in the back and chest. A man who held her down as she struggled to draw her last breaths as she drowned in her own blood for as long as 15 terror-filled minutes.
And her crime?
She wanted her children to be able to date whom they wanted and to wear what they wished. She wanted to live as a free Canadian woman in her new country, without the constant verbal abuse and enslavement she suffered at the hands of her autocratic husband.
But they have forgiven him, her children say.
"We all love my father just as we did when we were kids and need our father with us more than ever, today," the son pleaded. "Every home deserves a parent, whether it is a mother or a father. Please take us siblings into consideration before the final decision."
But the judge had seen right to the heart of the real Khairi: A self-pitying, remorseless man who is still manipulating his family to this day. And while he can often be gruff, it was Clark who expressed more compassion and sympathy for Randjida than did her own children, calling her a good wife who worked tirelessly to support her family with little or no help from her illiterate, unemployed husband who did nothing but "sit and brood" over his self-imposed inability to adapt to his new country.
Despite her epilepsy and diabetes, she cooked their food, ironed their clothes, paid the rent, took them shopping and withstood her husband's wrath as she supported their efforts to assimilate. But all her children spoke of was their dad.
"The letter is singular in the extent to which it focuses entirely on the accused," the judge noted, as five of the kids sat in court, their heads bowed. "Apart from one reference to the children not having attended because it would have upset them to see photographs of their mother, the letter is devoid of any mention of their mother."
So, we will do it in their stead. But how shameful that it's left to strangers to speak on her behalf.
"It's a sad state of affairs when the children have turned a page in their lives and essentially forgotten about mom," agreed Det.-Sgt. Michael Barsky. "This is what this process is all about, it's about their mother."
But once again, Khairi has made it all about him.