Moments before his sister’s killer was sent to spend the rest of his life in prison, Mehrouz Naimi told a Montgomery County judge that he wanted more.
“Until he goes to hell and starts experiencing the pain he’s caused us, only then will he start recovering and learning,” Naimi said in court Thursday.
The sentencing of Raymond Williams, 37, closed the book on a case that began 15 months ago inside an art studio off Rockville Pike. Azin Naimi, a world-renowned restorer of centuries-old Russian art, had gone to the studio on a Sunday night to work. Inside was Williams, a handyman for the art center, who attacked Naimi for reasons that are still unclear.
Williams stabbed Naimi, 45, repeatedly with a pair of scissors and choked her so hard that he fractured her thyroid cartilage, prosecutor Stephen Chaikin said. He then scrubbed and mopped the scene, rolled Naimi’s body in a blanket, and dumped it in an alley in the District. The next day, according to a witness’s testimony, he went to the movies.
“What you did to Azin Naimi and her family was a series of unspeakable acts of evil,” Circuit Court Judge Joseph A. Dugan Jr. told Williams in court Thursday.
At his trial in June, Williams took the stand in a defense that asserted he killed Naimi because he had taken drugs in the studio and was startled when she arrived. Had the jurors believed that drugs were responsible for his actions and that the killing was not premeditated, they could have decided on a lesser verdict — but they didn’t. Neither did Dugan.
“I don’t believe that the PCP caused you to do that,” Dugan said. “I don’t believe that for one second.”
The judge’s reasoning: While Williams’s mind may have been fuzzy, the repeated wounds he inflicted and his extensive coverup of the killing showed premeditation and deliberation. “It would have taken you hours and hours and hours to clean up the mess that was left of that poor woman,” Dugan said.
Dugan sentenced Williams to life in prison without eligibility for parole. Williams showed little expression during the hearing and chose not to speak to the judge or Naimi’s family.
Later in an interview, Mehrouz Naimi said he was pleased with the sentence. He says he wakes up each day asking himself whether his sister was really killed.
“You’re just like a robot, I guess,” he said. “You move because everyone else is moving. You go get another cup of coffee because everyone else is getting a cup of coffee.”
The siblings were born in Iran. As the country descended into war, their parents sent them to boarding school in India.
“Right off the bat, we were everything to each other,” he told the judge, adding that they stayed close after moving to Maryland.
His sister was known for her compassion — a willingness, for example, to give money, food and blankets to homeless people she passed on the street.
Azin Naimi also showed kindness to Williams, whom she knew from the studio. She encouraged him to quit smoking and spoke with him enough about the Bible that Williams referred to her as his spiritual adviser.
But her brother said she wouldn’t show any sympathy for Williams now.
“The one thing she wouldn’t do is have compassion for monsters,” he said.
Sitting nearby during the hearing was his mother, Mary Bazargan. Chaikin read a statement she had written to the judge: “Nightmares, fear, crying and depression have replaced the joy, happiness and serenity I used to feel.”
After the hearing, Bazargan said she was glad that Dugan did not have the option of sentencing Williams to the death penalty. Inside prison, she said, he “has to suffer more.”