Murder Trial Nears

Murder Trial Nears

More than a year later, the murder trial is scheduled to begin.

Dr. Zakaria Oweiss, a Potomac resident, was arrested for the first-degree murder of his wife, Marianne Oweiss, on Aug. 16, 2001.

Jury selection for his trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 21, 2002, more than 14 months later.

Last Thursday, Sept. 19, eight people testified during a motions hearing before Circuit Court Judge S. Michael Pincus in Rockville.

Oweiss was charged with the first-degree murder of his wife Marianne Oweiss, a Potomac real estate agent, at 4 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2001. The couple had two sons together, Omar and Amin Oweiss.

MARIANNE OWEISS was found Aug. 15, 2001 — "in a pool of blood," according to police charging documents — in the basement of the couple's Potomac home, which was used for Oweiss' private gynecological practice.

"An examination of the crime scene and the body indicated a violent struggle. The victim suffered severe wounds to the head," according to charging documents written by Montgomery County police detective Kenneth Penrod.

Penrod testified last Thursday, along with detective Michael Brent, police officers Kathryn Ellis and Jackie Lee Falls, fire and rescue workers Lt. Patrick Joseph Hollerin, James Gross and Corinn Rachel Mann, and Oweiss' attorney at the time of his arrest, Arthur Brisker.

Both Peter Davis, Oweiss' current attorney, and Debbie Armstrong and Kay Winfree, of the state's attorney office of Montgomery County, had opportunity to question all of them. Five other rescue workers from Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department who responded to the Oweiss home on Kentsdale Drive on Aug. 15, 2001, were also present at the hearing

Judge Pincus will give his ruling on Monday, Oct. 7 on the admissibility of the statements made by the police officers, detectives and fire and rescue personnel; the tapes made by police when they questioned Oweiss before his arrest; and the admissibility of items that were seized by police, including Oweiss' glasses, shirt, and his son's pants, as evidence to be used during the trial.

THE TRIAL will immediately follow jury selection, which is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21, at the Circuit Court of Montgomery County. The case was originally to begin on Feb. 5, 2002 and then was rescheduled for May of 2002. Near the time of the trial in May, Oweiss' attorney Paul Stein withdrew from the case. Peter Davis is Oweiss' current attorney.

Oweiss is currently living at his brother's house after posting 10 percent of the $5 million bond mandated by judge Eric Johnson last October. Oweiss has not been allowed to continue his medical practice and has been court ordered to stay at his home with the exception of going to his attorney's office, to medical appointments and to religious ceremonies.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue units responded to the Oweiss home at 9510 Kentsdale Road in Potomac for a report of an injured person in Aug., 2001. The call originally was made for "an injured person who fell down the stairs, possibly unconscious" according to rescue workers. Lt. Hollerin called police after learning the house could be a crime scene.

An autopsy conducted by the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland determined that Marianne Oweiss died as a result of repeat blunt force trauma to her head.

Oweiss told police that he "had recently learned that his wife was involved in an extramarital affair and had planned to leave him," according to charging documents. Oweiss also said that he planned to confront his wife with the knowledge of the affair, according to the same documents.

Marianne Oweiss returned home from a trip to Egypt just one day before her death last year.