TV executive accused of beheading wife in NY

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Police say an upstate New York television executive beheaded his wife after she filed for divorce.

Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan is accused of beheading his wife last week. Funeral services for Aasiya Hassan, 37, were Tuesday. Her husband is scheduled to appear for a felony hearing Wednesday.

The Hassans lived in Orchard Park -- a well-off Buffalo suburb that hadn't seen a homicide since 1986 -- and started Bridges TV there in 2004 with the message of developing understanding between North America and the Middle East and South Asia. The network, available across the U.S. and Canada, was believed to be the first English-language cable station aimed at the rapidly growing Muslim demographic.

Orchard Park Police Chief Andrew Benz said officers had responded to domestic incidents involving the couple, most recently Feb. 6, the day Mo Hassan was served with divorce papers and an order of protection.

"I've never heard him raise his voice," said Paul Moskal, who became friendly with the couple while he was chief counsel for the FBI in Buffalo. Moskal would answer questions in forums aired on Bridges TV that were intended to improve understanding between Muslim-Americans and law enforcement.

Hassan was not represented by an attorney at an initial appearance on a charge of second-degree murder. Neither police nor the Erie County district attorney's office knew if he had hired a lawyer.

On Feb. 12, Hassan went to a police station and told officers his wife was dead at the TV studio.

"We found her laying in the hallway the offices were off of," Benz said. Aasiya Hassan's head was near her body.

"I don't know if (the method of death) does mean anything," said the chief, who would not discuss what weapon may have been used. "We certainly want to investigate anything that has any kind of merit. It's not a normal thing you would see."

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