El Cajon Husband Gets 21 Years for Killing Wife, Mother of 9

El Cajon Husband Gets 21 Years for Killing Wife, Mother of 9

File photo of a judge's gavel. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service


Updated: 1/11/2024

EL CAJON, Calif.—A man who fatally shot his wife—a mother of nine—at the couple’s El Cajon home was sentenced Dec. 21 to 21 years in state prison.
Abdulhannan Abdurazaq Alrawi, 46, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and a firearm allegation in the Aug. 22, 2022, shooting death of Fathem Alrawi, 37.
Prosecutors say Mr. Alrawi shot his wife in the face while she was lying in bed. The couple’s nine children—who ranged in age from 2 to 17 at the time of the shooting—were asleep in the home when their mother was shot.
At Mr. Alrawi’s sentencing hearing, Deputy District Attorney Jared Coleman said there was no evidence pointing to a clear motive, but said Mr. Alrawi’s explanation for the shooting was “hard to believe.”
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Alrawi said he tried “to wake up his wife by touching a gun to her face in what he described as a joking manner.”
Mr. Coleman said that even if that was the case, “it still shows behavior that is so egregious, so reckless and so unforgivable ... if it’s the truth, then it’s all the more tragic because it didn’t have to happen.”
Mr. Alrawi, who was initially charged with murder, could have faced a sentence as low as 11 years as part of his plea agreement.
Superior Court Judge Roderick Shelton imposed the maximum possible term, saying he did not believe Mr. Alrawi’s explanation.
“Even if I believed what Mr. Alrawi said, it would be so reckless to do that,” Mr. Shelton said.
Mr. Alrawi’s defense attorney, Daniel Cohen, described his client in court as “a giving man” who is beloved in his community.
“A terrible thing has happened and he’s responsible for it and he admitted it at an early stage,” Mr. Cohen said.
Several family members and friends spoke on Mr. Alrawi’s behalf at the hearing, describing him as a good man whose family came to El Cajon from Syria.
Many of the speakers, who said Mr. Alrawi had helped them and others move to the U.S. and adjust to American life, asked for mercy and for Mr. Alrawi to be reunited with his children.
Mr. Coleman said the plea agreement was reached with consideration of the impact on the couple’s nine children, as they “have effectively been left orphaned ... most of those children will spend the rest of their childhood without either parent.”
The prosecutor said the children have expressed wanting to be with their father, but he said, “While their unconditional love for their father is moving and admirable, their father made a choice that was so careless and so dangerous that it took their mother away from them. And there has to be consequences for that.”
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