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Son, Omar, Caught in Middle

Marianne Oweiss’ mother, sister and brothers have been following the trial of Zakaria Oweiss from Germany, Marianne’s homeland. Marianne’s brother said he and his family would have been in the courtroom in Rockville, Md. these past two weeks had they known Zakaria Oweiss’ defense strategy would be to implicate their nephew Omar Oweiss in his mother’s murder.

“My sister has been killed — and all the evidence points to the husband,” wrote Dr. Thomas Breinlich, the younger brother of Marianne, via e-mail.

“Trying to make believe that Omar might have done it may be a nice game on behalf of the lawyer of the accused, but, in my opinion, it is really disgusting,” Breinlich wrote. “As we did never think of such an unbelievable assumption, we did not think of joining Omar and giving him the moral support he deserves; now we are taught otherwise.”

FROM THE FIRST day of the trial on Feb. 21 through closing arguments last Friday, March 7, it was clear Peter Davis’ primary defense strategy would be to cast suspicion on Omar in the murder of his mother.

“It is our evidence that Omar is responsible for his mother’s death,” said Davis, in his closing argument last Friday. “The killer in this case is Omar Oweiss.”

Prosecutors and police say Omar, who declined to comment for this story, was never a suspect in his mother’s murder. It was his father Zakaria Oweiss who had spatters of Marianne’ blood on him “from head to toe,” prosecutor Katherine Winfree said.

No blood was found on Omar or his clothes.

“He has put his son in the middle. Omar wants justice for his mother. He loves his father. He is in a horrible position, a position his father has put him in,” said prosecutor Deborah Armstrong.

OMAR OWEISS was caught in middle of a nightmare that started before the morning of his mother’s death.

It was Omar who Zakaria Oweiss turned to for access to Marianne Oweiss’ e-mail to find out if she was having an affair.

It was Omar who picked his mother up at the airport when she returned from Egypt on Aug. 14, the day before she was murdered.

It was Omar who warmed his mother a meal of couscous before she spent the evening unpacking her clothes.

It was Omar who kissed his mother goodnight that night, the only one in his family who did so.

And it was Omar who awakened to hear his mother’s scream, calling his name for help on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Then he found himself under subpoena as a witness for the prosecution

“He loves his father and how sad this is the only parent he has left, a parent who has put him in this position,” said Winfree.

“I feel so bad for what he has had to endure. He has been remarkably strong and pleasant,” Winfree said, outside of court. “He’s not just civil but pleasant and concerned about everyone.”

NOT EVERYONE understands, including his own family, testified Omar, who was listed on the dean’s list at the University of Maryland the academic year before and after his mother’s murder.

“I’ve been extremely isolated from my father’s side of the family. I’m alone in this. Even my brother [Amin, 19] has trouble talking with me,” said Omar, who answered questions, first from Winfree and then from Davis, his father’s defense attorney on the second day of the trial.

During closing arguments last Friday, Omar’s aunt, Zakaria’s sister, nodded her head when Davis called Omar “the killer.”

“This torment of my family accusing me [of testifying against my father] is not very helpful to me at all,” testified Omar. “It brings me no joy. It’s very painful to testify in front of my father in his case,” said Omar.

Winfree and State’s Attorney Doug Gansler both said they have never seen a case before where a parent has accused a child as a defense in a murder case.

“What kind of father would do that? Shame on him,” said Winfree, to jurors on Friday, moments before the jury began deliberations that continued into Wednesday, March 12.

“It’s very difficult. It’s emotional. I don’t have words. It’s very difficult,” Omar said.