Beverly Ann Ibn-Tamas, whose conviction for murdering her husband was thrown out last March after a judge found that her attorneys placed "their own financial interests above the interests of the defendant," yesterday was found guilty of the same charge after a second trial with new lawyers before a jury in D.C. Supeior Court.
Ibn-Tamas, 34, who was pregnant at the time of the jurder, testified during her week-long trial that she shot her husband, Dr. Abdur Ramad Yussef Ibn-Tamas, a neurosurgeon, in self defense after he had beaten her during a quarrel at their home on Feb. 23, 1976.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about 10 hours before finding Ibn-Tamas guilty of second degree murder while armed. The defendant, who broke into tears during portions of her testimony, remained impassive when the jury forewoman announced the verdict.
A jury first found Ibn-Tamas guilty of murder last October. The following March, however, after she spent six months in jail, she was freed on bond after D.C. Superior Court Judge Bruce S. Mencher ordered that she be given a new trial.
Judge Mencher wrote in a 47-page opinion that Ibn-Tamas had been denied effective assistance of counsel in her first trial because her lawyers, whom she eventually fired, coerced her into signing a $40,000 fee agreement to be paid from life insurance proceeds she would receive if acquitted of the jurder charges.
That arrangement constituted a contingent fee, which is prohibited in criminal cases under the Code of Professional Responsibility issued by the D.C. Court of Appeals, Mencher said.
The judge also ordered a new trial because he said the forewoman on the first jury panel had used a dictionary to look up key words during deliberaions, which the judge said was contrary to court rules.
At the second trial Ibn-Tamas was represented by the firm of Williams and Connolly for no fee, according to William E. McDaniels, who along with Ellen S. Huvelle acted as defense counsel. McDaniels said he will appeal the conviction.
During the retrial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hamilton P. Fox III contended that on the morning of the shooting, the couple had an argument at the breakfast table during which Dr. Ibn-Tamas struck his wife with a magazine and told her to leave the house. Dr. Ibn-Tamas then went to his medical office, located in a separate wing of the family home at the corner of 16th and Myrtle Streets NW, according to the government's theory of the case.
Meanwhile, Fox told the jury, Mrs. Ibn-Tamas took a chrome-plated 38 caliber revolver from a kitchen cabinet, went to a second floor bedroom and test fired the weapon through a door.
Ibn-Tamas telephoned her husband at his office, Fox said, and moments later, as he was coming up a staircase towards the bedroom, she shot him in the stomach, fired again and missed. Ibn-Tamas then followed her husband down the stairs and into an examination room of the office where, while Dr. Ibn-Tamas was lying on the floor, she shot him at point blank range between the eyes.
The government's key witness was Dr. Ibn-Tamas' secretary, Lynette McCollum, who testified that shortly after she arrived in the office the day of the incident, she heard a loud bang and what sounded like a person falling down a flight of stairs. Then she said she heard Ibn-Tamas cry out in an apparent reference to his wife "Yasmin, don't shoot me anymore!" to which Ibn-Tamas responded "I'm not going to leave you."
Then McCollum testified, she heard a second shot and then heard Dr. Ibn-Tamas call Ms. McCollum's name several times. "I'm not going to leave you, I mean it," McCollum said she heard Ibn-Tamas say whereupon McCollum said she heard another shot fired.
Ibn-Tamas, who took the witness stand in her own defense, repeatedly denied that she made any of the statements McCollum testified about.
Ibn-Tamas testified that after the argument at the breakfast table, her husband dragged her upstairs to th bedroom, threw a suitcase on the bed and told her to get out of the house in an hour. When she protested, Ibn-Tamas testified, her husband beat her, at one time with a hair brush and then held a gun that he apparently took from a dresser drawer at her head and threatened her.
According to Ibn-Tamas, after he returned to his office she telephoned her husband and said she wanted to talk but he said he didn't want to argue with her anymore.
Moments later, she said her husband returned to the bedroom, saw that she was not packed, beat her and kicked her in the stomach.
"I saw the pistol (on a dresser). He looked like he was going to pick it up. I picked it up and shot." The defense argued that two shots were fired in the upstairs area, one striking the door.
Ibn-Tamas said her husband then went down the stairs. With her 2-year-old daughter at her side and a gun in her hand, Ibn-Tamas, who said she was trying to flee from the house at that point, was on her way down the stairs when suddenly she saw her husband on a landing and fired a him again.
At this point, Ibn-Tamas said her husband took a series of small jumps down the stairs, with his back up against one wall and did not fall down, as McCollum had testified Ibn-Tamas said that at that point, she did not know she had injured her husband and was not trying to hit him.
As she got to the bottom of the stairs, to a door that leads to the examination room Ibn-Tamas said she saw her husband standing in the room in a crouched position. She testified she knew there were other guns in the house and in his office.
"He was just like he was waiting for me. I just knew he had a gun . . . I shot him," she testified.
Superior Court Judge William E. Stewart Jr. ordered Ibn-Tamas held without bond yesterday pending imposition of sentence which Stewart scheduled for Aug. 19.