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'My family’s suffering still hasn’t ended': Faint hope hearing evidence concludes with victim impact statements

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A Windsor man convicted in a violent murder 20 years ago will have to wait a little longer to find out if his bid for an early chance at freedom will be granted following the jury’s release on Friday.

Ali Al-Shammari, 38, has asked a jury for a chance to apply for parole now and not wait the last five years of his sentence. He was 19 years old when he was convicted in December 2007 of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Thualfikar Alattiya.

The conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison and Al-Shammari cannot apply for parole until 2029.

Since April 8, 2024, Al-Shammari and his lawyers have been trying to convince a Windsor-Essex jury that he has taken responsibility for his actions and is rehabilitated enough to rejoin society.

George Spartinos, assistant crown attorney, is opposed to the application.

Even though it’s been 20 years, Spartinos still disputes Al-Shammari’s version of events of what happened on November 18, 2004.

Al-Shammari told the jury he only agreed to go with his friends to “assault” an unknown person which led to the following courtroom dialogue:

               Spartinos: "When they told you the man insulted their sister or family honour, according to you, you still didn't ask them who it was?” 

               Al-Shammari: “Nope.”

               Spartinos: “According to you, you just blindly followed the Al Ghazzi's?” 

               Al-Shammari: “Yeah.”

               Spartinos: “Sir, I'm going to put to you that’s not true.”

               Al-Shammari: “That's your opinion."

Spartinos reminded the jury, the three men tried to carry-out their attack on Alattiya five days earlier, but couldn’t follow through because the cab driver was not working.

Spartinos wondered why Al-Shammari never asked who was being assaulted and further questioned why Al-Shammari felt it necessary to wear a mask if he didn’t know who he was assaulting.

“Everyone knows how foolish a 19-year-old can be,” Al-Shammari told Spartinos. 

Al-Shammari, again, referred to a “deal” one of his co-accomplices received for testifying during Al-Shammari’s trial.

The two accomplices – one a young offender – both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and both were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for ten years.

                Spartinos: “You did what you intended to do [commit murder].”

                Al-Shammari: “No. That was the account of your witness. He tried to shift the blame off me.”

Al-Shammari told the jury once he gets full parole to be back “on the road” he intends to go to a halfway house in Toronto and then ultimately would like to move to British Columbia when given approval by corrections officials.

“I cannot go back to Windsor. There are too many people I hurt through my actions,” Al-Shammari told the jury. “I cannot go to the entire Windsor population and say, ‘I’m not that person.’”

Crown calls Alattiya family

When Al-Shammari concluded his evidence Friday morning, Spartinos chose to present four victim impact statements from the Alattiya family.

Murtada Alattiya described his father as “incredibly brilliant and extremely kind” in his remarks.

"By all means we had achieved our family's dream of immigrating to Canada, and we were living the perfect life as my dad was proactively searching to become [a] recognized civil engineer within Canada," he told the jury.

After his father’s murder, Murtada said he had to quit school and start working to support his family.

“After my father died my family was virtually broken in every aspect. We couldn’t live in Windsor, Ontario anymore. We were getting lots of attention from the press and from our community. We fled our hometown because of how violent the death of my father was,” said Murtada.

To this day, Murtada says he struggles with having the time to form lasting relationships with friends or romantic partners.

“My family’s suffering still hasn’t ended,” he told the jury.

Murtada read the victim impact statement of his mother, Rola Kamel:

“Not only did I lose the love of my life and companionship, I lost financial support and little to no compensation,” Kamel wrote, telling the jury she was forced to fend for her family all alone. “I had to answer very, very difficult questions alone. I had to deal with the angry emotions of children who didn’t understand what death was.”

Layla Alattiya read her statement – sometimes through tears – remotely via zoom.

“The day I lost my father, I lost my family, I lost the love of my life, I lost my hope, I lost my life,” Layla said.

She was only six years old when her father was killed.

“We lost our opportunity in becoming a family and living the Canadian dream. We received a nightmare that’s still not ending,” Layla wrote.

The jury was released early on Friday and put “on call” until Wednesday April 24 for the tentative resumption of the hearing for closing arguments and the charge to the jury.

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