Send this monster away for life
By Mindelle Jacobs ,Edmonton Sun
First posted: Sunday, September 04, 2011 01:22 PM MDT | Updated: Sunday, September 04, 2011 01:50 PM MDT
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2011/09/04/s ... y-for-life
Like so many immigrants, Selamawit Negasi faced immense hurdles adapting to Canadian life, but she leapt over them all.
A native of Eritrea, she learned English, pursued advanced education and tirelessly worked in various jobs while raising four daughters. The only obstacle she couldn't dodge was a tyrant of a husband who, for reasons we may never know, decided she deserved to die.
It is well known that a disintegrating marriage-- Selamawit was planning to divorce her husband -- is the most common risk factor for domestic homicide.
Little of the family's background came out in court last week.
But enough hints emerged to indicate the marriage was rocky and that Selamawit's husband, Tesfai, decided to teach his wife a permanent, bloody lesson for daring to leave him.
In the mind of an abusive or controlling man, the idea of a spouse leaving is unthinkable. If she can't be convinced to stay, she must die. It's a monstrous dysfunction in the brain of angry, infantile, obsessive men that cuts across all cultures.
Selamawit married Tesfai when she was a teenager -- before she'd even had time to grow into herself. This determined young woman may not have had a chance to spread her wings before marrying but she made up for lost time when she came to Canada, bettering herself so her children could have easier lives.
Perhaps it was Salamawit's new-found strength, growing independence and pride in her accomplishments that enraged her husband.
True, this is guesswork on my part. The couple's daughters didn't testify in court Thursday about why their parents' marriage unravelled.
But I have written enough about domestic violence to know that abusive men are often afraid of their wives' successes.
And the fear of a jealous, insecure man who feels his ambitions have somehow been thwarted can turn to rage.
Did Tesfai resent his wife's accomplishments? Only he knows that. One of the couple's daughters, Elen, told court that her mother was the "backbone" of the family who pretty much raised the girls on her own.
Whatever caused the marriage to disintegrate, Tesfai concluded that divorce wasn't an option. Instead, his wife would have to die.
The gruesome murder, in July 2009, was the self-satisfying denouement of male fury. Tesfai not only killed Selamawit but chopped her body up, wrapped the remains in plastic, bed sheets and garbage bags and put them in his car.
Court heard the attack was so brutal that a cause of death couldn't be determined. Two daughters found blood on their mom's bed and noticed that her van was in the driveway when she was supposed to be at work.
Confronted by his daughters, Tesfai knew the jig was up so he drove to police headquarters, with his wife's dismembered body in the trunk, and surrendered.
This is as close to first-degree murder -- a planned and deliberate killing -- as you can get. Yet, defence lawyer Peter Royal proposed to the judge that Tesfai be eligible for parole after 12 years, only two years more than the minimum mandatory sentence for second-degree murder.
His client has no previous criminal record and, until he slaughtered his wife, had integrated well into Canadian society, argued Royal.
Except for the fact Tesfai butchered and methodically sawed his wife into pieces, he was an upstanding citizen.
Why let a little thing like a wife-killing get in the way of letting him resume a normal life as soon as possible?
Tesfai is to be sentenced this week.
If there is any justice, he'll get at least 20 years.