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Rahim A. Alfetlawi

Macomb County (Mich.) jail,

Stepfather accused in killing

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and DAVID CHANEN
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • May 3, 2011 - 9:43 PM

A Coon Rapids man went to suburban Detroit and fatally shot his 20-year-old stepdaughter in the head because she left Minnesota to live with her father and was not adhering to Muslim customs, police said Tuesday.

Rahim A. Alfetlawi, 45, was charged Monday in Warren, Mich., with first-degree premeditated murder and two weapons offenses. He remained jailed without bond.

Alfetlawi is accused of killing Jessica Mokdad Saturday afternoon in her grandmother's home. Warren Police Lt. Michael Torey said "the biological father was letting her be a little more Americanized than what [the defendant] wanted."

Mokdad attended Coon Rapids High School and was on the dean's list in the fall of 2009. Assistant principal Tyrone Kindle described her on Tuesday as a standout student with a great smile who at times confided in him.

"We did talk about some family issues, but I don't want to go into specifics," he said. "She was a happy student, not a troubled kid."

From Michigan, Torey said that Alfetlawi was upset that Mokdad left the Coon Rapids home of Alfetlawi and Mokdad's mother, Wendy, several weeks ago to live with her father in Grand Blanc, Mich.

Alfetlawi confronted his stepdaughter at her grandmother's home in Warren, where she was moving some things that had belonged to her great-grandmother. She was shot with a 9mm handgun and died at the scene, Torey said.

Alfetkawu drove to a police station and "made some admissions about killing his stepdaughter," the lieutenant said. Torey said that Alfetlawi told police the gun discharged accidentally.

Authorities say Alfetlawi told them he came to Michigan to find and confront Mokdad's father. Torey said Alfetlawi asked Mokdad about where her father was, and an argument ensued.

Kindle, the assistant principal, said the killing "broke my heart ... When I learned about Jessica's death, I fell to my knees. She was a great kid."

Mokdad was a quiet student who was very confident in who she was and proud of being a Muslim, he said, adding that she affected people in a subtle way because they respected her. She planned to go to college and study an occupation to help people, he said.

"She was someone that any father or parent would have been proud to have as a daughter," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482 dchanen@startribune.com • 612-673-4465

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