Court docs: Tacoma candy store clerk allegedly murdered homeless woman with sword
TACOMA, Wash. - A Tacoma candy store clerk is accused of murdering a homeless woman with a sword, telling police he was tired of her hanging around the shop.
Tacoma Police were called to the Candy Market Saturday evening, on the corner of Ninth and Market St. Officers were responding to reports of a woman being hit with a stick outside the store.
When they arrived, they instead found a woman had been stabbed and was dead. Police say they recognized her as a homeless woman who frequented the area.
According to court documents, a clerk of the Candy Market, Abdelhakim Choubabi, walked to officers after they arrived and turned himself in. Choubabi stated something about acting in self-defense, court documents say, but there was a major language barrier and officers were unable to read him his Miranda rights, as Choubabi speaks Arabic.
A witness told police she saw Choubabi came out of the shop and attack the homeless woman with a "long stick or pole" while she was lying on the ground under a blanket. Choubabi went to go back into the shop, but then came back and hit the woman again, the witness told police.
According to court documents, police also spoke with a man who allegedly drove Choubabi from the shop shortly after the incident. He told police they went to a restaurant, where Choubabi told him the woman tried to kill him, so he stabbed her. The man said he had to go back and talk to police, and then drove him to the Candy Market.
Detectives then spoke to Choubabi with an interpreter and read him his Miranda rights. Choubabi told detectives he was tired of the homeless woman because she constantly stole things, "smelled bad" and would urinate outside the store, court documents say. The same day of her murder, Choubabi said he had called police to have her moved away from the store, but officers left when they reportedly saw she was leaving.
Then, Choubabi said the woman stole sunglasses and condoms from the store, so he followed her and grabbed them back. He said she hit him in the back of the head, so he went back into the store, grabbed his sword, came out and attacked her while she was sitting on the ground outside the shop, court documents say.
According to court documents, Choubabi told detectives he "intended to kill" her. He put the sword back, and when he came out, an associate was outside in his car, so he got in and they drove to the restaurant.
Police served a search warrant on the Candy Market, and inside recovered a "large Samurai-type sword" and surveillance video.
Choubabi had reportedly been contacted for mental health issues, and was released from the hospital a day before the incident, court documents say. He told detectives he is schizophrenic, and police say when he first arrived to turn himself in, he approached them with a knife. Officers say he dropped the knife when ordered to.
The medical examiner's office identified the woman as 37-year-old Odessa Easterlin.
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An autopsy conducted by the medical examiner found the homeless woman's cause of death was multiple stab wounds, and has been ruled a homicide.