UPDATE NO. 2, SEPT. 23, 2:53 P.M.: Paul Anderson of City News Service reports that jurors deliberated for about a day before convicting Siddiqi of first-degree murder, with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, and finding true a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. An attempted murder charge related to Faroqi's unborn baby was dismissed Sept. 17 because she was not far enough into her pregnancy for it to be legally considered a fetus.
Before revealing their verdict, jurors had been told by Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke that, "It is a simple case of, 'If I can't have you, then no one can.'" Siddiqi and Faroqi, who both have Afghani roots, met in October 2010 while applying in Baltimore to be translators for the military in Afghanistan. Neither got the job, but they liked one another and carried on a mostly long-distance relationship as Siddiqi stayed with his family in Virginia and Faroqi returned to Westminster. She later got a Defense Department job as a translator in Afghanistan, he did the same for the Marines and they got engaged in September 2010. A month later, she began an affair with a U.S. Army private and eventually got pregnant, something she concealed from Siddiqi. The pair eventually called off their wedding but remained in a romantic relationship that would deteriorate. Siddiqi's friends advised him to move on, but he instead bought a wedding ring just days before Faroqi returned home from Afghanistan in December 2011. A friend and neighbor of Faroqi's arranged to have the estranged couple get together to talk in her apartment on Dec. 19, 2011. When Faroqi revealed her affair, Siddiqi still wanted to stay together. As he tried to show her the wedding ring, a knife that he had taken from a butcher block in the neighbor's kitchen fell out of his jacket pocket, according to Burke. The neighbor picked up the knife and tried to keep Siddiqi from going back into the kitchen, but he flung the woman aside and grabbed a bigger knife with an eight-inch blade that he would plunge into Faroqi 18 times after chasing her to an area near a carport at the complex. While at a hospital to be treated for a cut on his hand, Siddiqi was heard saying, "I can't say I'm sorry because does it look like I'm sorry? No, not at all. I did what I had to do, what I thought was right." Defense attorney Lisa Eyanson had argued her client just snapped and killed Faroqi in the "heat of passion," which would have made him guilty of manslaughter, not a murder.
UPDATE NO. 1, SEPT. 23, 12:39 P.M.: A jury in Santa Ana this afternoon found Ahmad Rashad Siddiqi guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend Soraya Faroqi in December 2011. He now faces an Oct. 30 sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 9, 6:35 A.M.: Trial is scheduled to begin this morning for a Marine who allegedly slayed a civilian translator for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But Soraya Faroqi was not repeatedly stabbed in the war zone.
The 24-year-old died from injuries inflicted outside a Westminster apartment, where her unborn child was also killed. If 27-year-old Ahmad Rashad Siddiqi of Alexandria, Virginia, is convicted of special circumstances murder, he could get life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
Siddiqi was living in Alexandria, Virginia, in December of 2011, when he was involved in a long-distance dating relationship with Faroqi, who had worked as an interpreter for the Department of Defense, as her Marine corporal beau had in Afghanistan.
Faroqi returned to Orange County from Afghanistan on Dec. 13, 2011, and was in her first trimester of pregnancy. Five days later, Siddiqi is alleged to have flown from Virginia to Orange County "to talk with Faroqi about the status of their relationship," according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
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That Dec. 19, Siddiqi met with Faroqi in the Westminster apartment of her friend, but the talk became heated and he allegedly pulled out a knife and chased her out of the unit, the OCDA says.
"He is accused of pushing her into the bushes in a nearby carport and repeatedly stabbing Faroqi as her friend screamed for him to stop," the OCDA says.
Witnesses called 9-1-1 and Westminster cops arrived to arrest Siddiqi at the scene. He is charged with felony special circumstances murder by lying in wait and felony attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. Opening statements are scheduled to begin this morning at 9:30 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.