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Potomac Killing Casts Spotlight on Son's Romance

Aramis Mizani leaves the courthouse with her father, Ahmad Mizani, after an Oct. 11 bond hearing for Mark K. Makki.
Aramis Mizani leaves the courthouse with her father, Ahmad Mizani, after an Oct. 11 bond hearing for Mark K. Makki. (By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)

Some deemed Seyed-Makki's staunch opposition to the relationship as absurd, oddly Shakespearian in this day and age, even in a close-knit immigrant community in which many parents still try to influence their children's love lives.

"Her life mission was to keep them apart," Levy said. "My sister is not a bad person. Was Aramis going to be a lawyer or doctor? No. Nobody was concerned about the relationship other than her," he said, referring to Seyed-Makki. He paused, then said, "She should have been more worried about what Mark was doing with his life."

Efforts to separate Makki and Mizani were futile.

Last year, Makki went to Shenandoah University, in Winchester, Va., more than 70 miles away from home. Mizani visited him at the university. This year, he spent some time in Miami, where he coached and played tennis.

"She would still fly down to Florida. They would just find a way to see each other," Levy said. "I think it's that first-love thing. Sometimes people can't get away from it."

Mizani's statements to homicide detectives hours after the killing -- which police say disproved Makki's alibi -- in part led authorities to charge him with first-degree murder and robbery.

Prosecutors have said that at police headquarters before his arrest, Makki urged Mizani to tell police they had been together at the time of the crime, a move described in court as an apparent attempt to tamper with a witness.

When police confronted him with the contradictory versions of his whereabouts on the day of the killing, Makki told detectives that his girlfriend's memory might have been blurred by the drugs she takes, according to a charging document.

Mizani attended Makki's bond hearing Oct. 11 with her father. She wept as she left the courtroom after a judge declined to release her boyfriend on bail. Ahmad Mizani, furious at photographers who took pictures of him and his daughter as they walked down the court steps, smacked a photojournalist in the face in front of numerous witnesses.

Makki was released on $250,000 bond two days later, after prosecutors acknowledged that DNA tests conducted in the case did not link him to his mother's body at the time she was killed.

A judge ordered that he surrender his passport and forbade him to leave the state, except to attend his mother's funeral, which was in Virginia on Oct. 15.

Makki wore a dark suit to the funeral. Mizani attended with a mutual friend; her father was not there. The weather was splendid -- in sharp contrast to the mood of a family doubly bruised in the space of a week by a slaying and arrest.

"In a weird way, I wish the cameramen were there," said Vaziri, who was present. "Because Mark was so good-looking that day, not like the [mug shot] that was posted on every paper. And he was crying, and you could see his pain and his innocence."

When the service ended. Mizani walked toward Makki, Vaziri said. Makki's relatives huddled around him before she reached him and whisked him to a car waiting nearby.

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