Zakaria Oweiss cut short his trip and came home, vowing to get a divorce. Marianne Oweiss returned home Aug. 14. Omar Oweiss said he drove her home from Dulles International Airport as she cried, then carried her luggage upstairs, warmed her dinner and kissed her goodnight. He said his brother, who was furious with his mother, had refused to go to the airport.
Prosecutors allege that Zakaria Oweiss left home the next morning in his red Volkswagen Jetta, ostensibly to see patients in Washington. Instead, he allegedly told his secretary to cancel his appointments. After parking some distance from his home, prosecutors allege, he sneaked into the house and ambushed his wife, striking her at least seven times on the back of the head with the mallet. They said the attack left him speckled with tiny drops of her blood.
In court, Omar Oweiss described seeing his father in the driveway, holding the mallet.
"I said, 'Dad.' He came up to me [and] I went up to him," the son said. "The first thing out of him was, 'She attacked me.' And I said: 'Shut up. I'm calling the police.' " He said his father told him to wait until he got rid of the mallet. Omar Oweiss said his father drove off in his wife's Jeep, and when he returned a short while later, the mallet was gone. It has not been found.
Omar Oweiss did not tell police about the mallet until eight days later. On the witness stand, he said he initially withheld that critical information because, at the time, he was instinctively protecting his father.
Davis, in the defense's closing argument, said that the blood on Zakaria Oweiss could have been inadvertently splattered on him by paramedics who examined Marianne Oweiss and then assisted her husband because he was short of breath.
Davis said that Omar Oweiss was angry with his mother, and reminded jurors that he was in the house when the slaying occurred and that he lied, at least by omission, to the police. "It's not a tactic to point the blame at Omar Oweiss in this case," Davis said. "It is our purpose. It is our evidence that Omar is responsible for his mother's death."
But Winfree dismissed the theory as a desperate last gasp by the patriarch of a family in ruins.
"Ladies and gentlemen, do not let him brand his son a liar," she told the jurors. "And do not let him brand his son a killer. It is time to let Zakaria Oweiss know that you are not fooled by this horrible, reprehensible defense."