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Murder Suspect Delays Trial

This was the week Dr. Zakaria Oweiss was supposed to stand trial for the first-degree murder of his wife Marianne Oweiss, who was found dead in their home on Aug. 15, 2001.

Instead, Zakaria Oweiss, appeared in court last Friday, May 3 without attorneys representing him and without money, he says, to hire new ones.

"He claims to be broke and says all his assets are frozen," said Katherine Winfree, with the State's Attorneys Office of Montgomery County.

"It is rarely in the defendant's best interest to get to trial. Long delays are always more favorable, witnesses move, they get disgruntled or their memories are not as keen. He has no incentive to get to court," said Winfree.

Circuit Court Judge S. Michael Pincus gave Oweiss until Friday, May 10 to obtain a new attorney.

Oweiss' attorneys Paul Stein and Paul Kemp, who were scheduled to represent him at the start of the trial on May 6, advised Pincus that they needed to withdrawal from the case for ethical reasons, said Winfree. Oweiss was supposed to have hired a new attorney to represent him by a hearing held last Friday, May 3.

"He says he has no money. To us … that seems very manipulative," said Winfree.

Oweiss, a Potomac gynecologist, was released from jail in November after posting 10 percent of a $5 million bond.

Currently, Oweiss is living at his brother's house in Kensington. He is not free to leave the house except for attending religious services and for interactions with his attorneys.

Oweiss says he has been at the office of the public defender every day last week, said Winfree.

<1b>— Ken Moore