A Buffalo, New York-area man accused of beheading his estranged wife made his first appearance in court Wednesday to face murder charges, according to CNN affiliate WKBW.
Muzzammil Hassan, 44, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 37-year-old wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, days after she filed for divorce and was granted a restraining order against him. In court Wednesday, Hassan waived his right to a felony hearing, WKBW said. The case will go before a grand jury. In the meantime, Hassan will be jailed without bail. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 15 years to life, WKBW reported, citing prosecutors. Muzzammil Hassan went to the police station in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park on Thursday and told officers that his wife was dead, authorities have said. He also led them to her body at the offices of Bridges TV. The couple began the network in 2004 to counter negative Muslim stereotypes; Muzzammil Hassan is its chief executive officer, and Aasiya Hassan was general manager. Aasiya Hassan filed for divorce February 6, police said, and Muzzammil Hassan was served with divorce papers at the station. That night, he showed up at the couple’s home, she notified authorities, and he was served with a restraining order.
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Police had responded to several domestic violence calls at the couple’s address, but no one was arrested, Orchard Park Police Chief Andrew Benz said Tuesday. However, two women claiming to be Aasiya Hassan’s sisters — one in Pakistan and one in South Africa — told reporters and posted in a blog that she lived in fear of him. Bridges TV released a statement Monday saying its staff members were “deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of Aasiya Hassan and the subsequent arrest of Muzzammil Hassan. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the families of the victim.”