Collecting Evidence of Murder

Collecting Evidence of Murder

Prosecution continues in Oweiss murder trial.

Dr. Zakaria Oweiss stopped taking notes as medical examiner Dr. Theodore King described the severity of the injuries that caused the death of his wife, Marianne Oweiss, on Aug. 15, 2001.

"These injuries would have disrupted consciousness and respiratory and cardiac functions," King testified on Friday, Feb. 28, the sixth day of Zakaria Oweiss' murder trial. "With the absence of medical attention, I believe she would have been unconscious in 20 to 30 seconds and would have died shortly after."

Oweiss, a Potomac gynecologist, rubbed his eyes and forehead, at times covering his eyes with his fingers, as King continued to answer in graphic detail questions from Katherine Winfree and Deborah Armstrong, prosecuting attorneys.

Marianne Oweiss, a congregant at Our Lady of Mercy Parish and a Potomac real estate agent, suffered seven lacerations to the head on the morning of Aug. 15, 2001, the day she was found murdered in the Potomac home she shared with her husband and two sons.

King performed the autopsy of Marianne Oweiss on Aug. 16, 2001.

"My opinion is Ms. Marianne Oweiss died of multiple blunt force injuries to the head," King said. "The manner of her death is homicide."

While a murder weapon was not found in the course of the investigation, Omar Oweiss, son of Zakaria and Marianne Oweiss, reported seeing his father with a rubber mallet in his hand after discovering his mother’s body. King said that such a mallet could have been the murder weapon.

"This particular item is heavy … but the edges are softer than what I would have expected,” King said.

DNA testing determined that blood stains found on Dr. Oweiss' shoes, belt, pants, shirt, pager, watch and eyeglasses were Marianne Oweiss’s blood, according to Kristin Koch, DNA analyst with Orchid Cellmark.

Stains on the jean shorts of Omar Oweiss, who found his mother on Aug. 15, 2001, tested negative for blood, according to Koch's analysis. She testified on Thursday, Feb. 27.

One place Koch did not confirm the presence of blood was on the floor mats of Marianne Oweiss' Jeep. Zakaria Oweiss drove away from the house on Aug. 15 with a rubber mallet in his hands in Marianne's Jeep, according to testimony from his son Omar Oweiss on the second day of the trial.

Responding to a 911 call, emergency technicians and police found Omar, his girlfriend Claudia Baines and Zakaria Oweiss home the morning of Aug. 15, 2001. The three were transported to police headquarters that morning.

Officer Jackie Lee Falls transported Zakaria Oweiss to police headquarters.

As they approached the station, "he appeared very nervous to me," said Falls. "He said, 'God help me, God help us,'" Falls testified on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2003.

Falls observed a bloodlike substance on Oweiss' shirts, pants and glasses.

"He asked me, 'Should I get a lawyer?'" said Falls, who said he answered, "'It's not my place to give that kind of advice.'"

Peter Davis, Oweiss' attorney, is expected to begin to present evidence to support his client starting on Wednesday, March 5, after the Almanac's Tuesday presstime. Davis said in his opening arguments that no one really knows what happened in the home on the morning Marianne Oweiss was killed.

"I suspect by the end of this case, you won't know what happened on Aug. 15, 2001," Davis told the jury on Friday, Feb. 21, the first day of the trial, over 18 months after Oweiss was initially charged.