Woman guilty in domestic murder case

May 5, 2009 3:31:41 PM PDT
A jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday in the murder trial of a Villa Park woman. Nicole Abusharif was accused of suffocating her longtime domestic partner and putting her body in the trunk of their car back in 2007. Prosecutors said Abusharif suffocated Rebecca Klein so she could pursue a relationship with another woman. Prosecutors also say insurance money was a motive for the murder.

The courtroom was filled with friends and family of the victim, Rebecca Klein, and of the defendant, Abusharif. She was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her lesbian partner. The jury of six men and six women convicted the 28-year-old, of Villa Park, of murdering her 32-year-old longtime partner on March 15 at their home.

"Although we are not happy to be here in this position today, we are all relieved that this part of the process has concluded. Becky will continue to be part of our lives and her memory will flourish in our hearts and souls," said Jeff Klein, victim's father.

The jury deliberated for two days, finding the defendant guilty of suffocating Klein so that she could start a new relationship with another woman and collect several thousand dollars worth of insurance.

Abusharif was out on a $1 million bond and waited for the decision outside of the courtroom with family and friends. The defendant's family refused to comment about the verdict. She was found guilty of smothering Klein with a plastic garbage bag and stuffing her in the trunk of a 1966 Ford Mustang, which was parked in their garage.

"Physical evidence was very compelling. That's basically all I want to say. The physical evidence was there," said Don Keplinger, juror.

"Domestic violence continues to be one of the most serious problems that we face, not only in the criminal justice system, but in our society as a whole. And this is once again an example of the vigilance that we have to demonstrate," said Joe Birkett, DuPage County state's attorney.

Throughout the trial, Abusharif denied she had any part in Klein's death and that they had an open relationship in which they could date other people, as long as certain rules were followed.

"The evidence of premeditation and callousness is a demonstration that this defendant deserves no mercy. So we will be asking for a sentence in the high range," Birkett said.

Abusharif was taken into custody immediately following the verdict and faces up to 60 years in prison. She avoided a life sentence because prosecutors could not find that the murder was premeditated.


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