TORONTO -- When Tamana Khairi came home to her family's west end apartment, to the police tape and squad cars and flashing lights, she immediately guessed the fate of her mother. And just as quickly knew who it was who had slaughtered her mom like some disobedient dog.
"That monster said he was going to kill her," cried Peer Khairi's second youngest daughter. "I knew I shouldn't have gone to work."
As she desperately questioned the police, Tamana quickly divined the truth: "Did my dad kill my mom?" she demanded from Sgt. Kathy Vellend.
But the jury would never hear those incriminating statements.
When police confirmed Randjida Khairi was dead, Tamana collapsed screaming to the ground on that afternoon of March 18, 2008. Slamming her forehead against the wall, she suddenly lunged for the sergeant's gun and tried to turn it on herself. Disarmed by police, the hysterical daughter then grabbed for scissors and tried in vain to drive them towards her stomach.
She awoke six days later in the psychiatric ward at St. Joseph's Hospital.
In the Crown's opening address, jurors were told they would hear from Tamana, but she never did give her testimony in person. Her psychiatrist had warned that testifying would compromise her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder.
So Justice Robert Clark decided the jury would hear a transcript of her appearance at the preliminary hearing. But by then, Tamana resolutely insisted she didn't remember saying anything to police about the monster who was her father.
"Once they told me this," she said of her mom's slaying, "everything faded away."
Jurors wouldn't hear that the Afghan immigrant had long threatened to kill his defiant wife. But they didn't need Tamana's testimony to know who had brutally butchered Randjida -- Khairi admitted as much himself.
The bitter old man, who now insists he lied on his passport and is really 75, not 65, brought his family from Afghanistan to India and then finally to Canada in 2003. How did the illiterate mechanic on welfare manage to immigrate here? He told his trial that his boss in India spoke on his behalf to the UN high commissioner who pulled strings with the Canadian embassy.
Khairi soon cursed his decision as he watched his six children adopt Western clothes and behaviour: His daughter chose her own fiance and slept at the home of her future in-laws; his sons were partying at night and stealing; his daughters were going out in short skirts and not wearing hijab.
As for his 53-year-old second wife, a woman he later described as a whore, she was not only siding with the children, she was becoming defiantly Canadian herself after learning of her rights.
In India, Khairi nursed a five-year depression after his barren first wife died. Meanwhile, his dutiful second spouse supported their clan by toiling long hours in the hot sun, sometimes begging on the street. But Randjida would be his slave no more.
She was planning on leaving him, and had disclosed her plan to her children, an Afghan counselling agency, even a neighbour in the basement laundry room just two days before her husband killed her.
"Would there be an impact on your dad?" Justice L.M. Burzinski asked Tamana at the preliminary hearing.
"Yeah, it would affect his honour," she replied.
With no one willing to listen to his edicts, with the shame of his wife threatening to walk out, Khairi slowly stewed in anger and frustration at the disrespect he was shown.
He would later blame his mental problems for the bloody massacre. He claimed Randjida had provoked him by hurling unspeakable insults and brandishing a small knife. Frightened, he wrestled the blade away and then, finally snapping under the weight of his demons, he turned it on her.
But there was no evidence of a struggle.
She was just 5-foot-1 and 86 pounds, epileptic and on medication that left her weak and dizzy. While her unemployed husband wallowed in self-pity, the ailing matriarch did it all, cooking for her family, doing their laundry, taking her girls shopping. On her final morning, she ironed Tamana's Tim Hortons uniform before she left for work.
She died an agonizing long death. Her throat was sliced open, a cut so long and deep she was almost decapitated. As she gasped her last breaths, drowning in her own blood for five to 10 long minutes, the forensic evidence suggests the impatient Khairi then took another knife and plunged it five times into her torso.
This wasn't the work of someone who momentarily lost control. This was the vicious handiwork of a pathetic little man bent on revenge and control.
Randjida could no longer talk about her Canadian rights -- Khairi had cut right through her voice box so even her final cries would be silenced.
He would show her who was boss. He would show her, once and for all, that she would never dishonour and disrespect him again.
Read Mandel Wednesday through Saturday.