Wael Ali, the Columbia man charged with murdering his twin brother, Wasel, is competent to stand trial next week, according to motions today at Howard County Circuit Court in Ellicott City.
After a question from a lawyer from the state’s attorney’s office, Ali’s defense attorney confirmed that Ali is competent to stand trial, but asked that he be allowed to see a psychiatrist during the trial to help cope with stress.
“As long as he’s in the mental health the psychiatrist says he is,” said Ali’s defense attorney, “he’ll be ready to go a week from today.”
Judge Richard S. Bernhardt agreed to allow the psychiatrist to see Ali during the trial.
In February, Ali was evaluated by a psychiatrist after a motions hearing in the case due to the possibility of incompetency. On Monday, Ali sat in the quiet, white courtroom wearing a black jacket and white shirt without a tie. He was clean-shaven, with a buzzed haircut. At times, he conversed with his two defense attorneys and took notes.
Earlier in the afternoon, the defense successfully lobbied the judge to redact certain parts of the police interview with Ali about what he did in the time between leaving Columbia Mall, where he was sent to pick up his brother from work, and 25 minutes later when he made a phone call.
Investigators claim those 25 minutes are a key part of the case, according to an article in Explore Howard. Detectives reported they traveled Wael’s presumed path, driving around the restaurant where Wasel was last seen on video, to the path where his body was found. They stayed there for a few minutes—to allow for the time, they believed, it would take to kill Wasel—and then drove past a cell phone tower near Route 175 and Tamar Drive, where Ali’s call was traced. The trip took them 25 minutes, according to the article.
In a tape of a recorded interview with police played for the court on Monday, Ali asked investigators, “Please don’t destroy my life more than it already is.” He also told them he couldn’t remember exactly what he did on the day investigators believe Wasel was killed.
Earlier that day, Aug. 22, 2007, investigators had searched the brothers’ home looking for evidence related to an earlier police impersonation case for which both brothers had received probation in July of 2007.
Patch has detailed the brothers' .
That same day, Wasel was accused of stealing over $1,000 worth of clothing while working at Banana Republic at the Columbia Mall. Wasel allegedly implicated Wael in the theft.
Wael was sent to pick up Wasel, who had been fired, from the mall. Later that day, Wasel’s family reported him missing.
Wael Ali’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 19.