July 14, 2024
A La Habra man testified that he strangled his girlfriend in 2018 and left her body in a trash bin before attempting to flee the country, but he denied that he believed she was pregnant at the time.

A La Habra man testified Monday during his murder trial that he strangled his girlfriend in 2018 and left her body in an Anaheim trash bin before attempting to flee the country, but he denied prosecutors’ contention that he believed she was pregnant at the time.

Amer Alhasan, during testimony late last week and early this week in his ongoing murder trial, told an Orange County Superior Court jury that Tiyanie Ly instigated the fight that ended with her 2018 death and said he panicked after realizing she was dead.

Alhasan claimed that an angry Ly grabbed him by the testicles and wouldn’t let go, leading him to grab her by the neck until she fell unconscious.

“Did you believe you had murdered Tiyanie?” asked Michael Bruggeman, Alhasan’s attorney

“No,” Alhasan responded.

“What did you think it was?” the defense attorney asked.

“It was an accidental death,” Alhasan said.

At the trial’s outset, Deputy District Attorney Janine Madera accused Alhasan of killing Ly when she refused to get an abortion after the couple apparently wrongly determined that she was pregnant with twin boys.

The prosecutor noted that rather than call 911, Alhasan placed Ly’s body in a duffel bag that he left in a trash container behind an Anaheim apartment complex, then tried to fly out of the county, only to be stopped by detectives at Los Angeles International Airport.

“Was putting her body in the Dumpster the right thing to do?” Madera asked.

“No,” Alhasan responded.

“Was fleeing to Jordan the right thing to do?” the prosecutor said.

“No,” Alhasan said.

“Was lying to police the right thing to do?” Madera said.

“No,” the defendant said.

Alhasan testified he had been dating Ly for several months. The two had broken up several days before her death, he testified, but a day later they reconciled and she told him she was pregnant.

Alhasan’s roommate described an emotional Alhasan telling him that Ly didn’t want an abortion but that he couldn’t afford a child. The roommate said he told Alhasan that it was her choice to make and that he needed to “man up.”

Alhasan testified that Ly later admitted to him that she wasn’t pregnant, but said she wouldn’t give him a reason for the alleged deception. He described texting Ly that they needed to take a week break to figure things out, said he took Xanax and then went to sleep. He woke up later, Alhasan said, to find Ly in his room. The two argued, Alhasan added, before she suddenly grabbed his testicles tightly.

“I didn’t know what to do, I just reached up and grabbed her by the neck,” Alhasan said.

Alhasan said he didn’t recall how long he held both hands around Ly’s neck, recalling that he let go when her grip on him loosened and she fell, unconscious, on top of him. Alhasan said he was unable to revive her.

“I assumed she was dead and I freaked out,” Alhasan said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

Ly’s body remained in Alhasan’s room for hours, he testified, until he moved the body into his rental car and disposed of it. Alhasan said he didn’t recall where he got the duffel bag she was shoved into or why he picked the apartment complex where her body was later discovered, though he acknowledged he previously had lived there for a short time.

Alhasan admitted making a variety of web searches after the death, including searches related to murder charges in California, fleeing to avoid a murder charge and dumping a dead body. He testified that he was panicked at the time and didn’t know who to turn to for help.

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Madera told Alhasan that strangling Ly would have required him to cut off her airflow for several minutes, including after she had lost consciousness. Asked by the prosecutor how long he was choking her, Alhasan repeatedly said he didn’t remember. He also said he couldn’t recall if he was looking at her as he choked her or if he was in fear for his life at the time.

“You thought if she grabbed you by the testicles hard enough she could kill you?” The prosecutor asked.

“I didn’t think,” Alhasan response. “It happened so fast. It was a reaction.”

Alhasan acknowledged that at the same time he was dating Ly, he had also gotten engaged to another woman in Jordan, where he had family ties. Alhasan said being engaged with someone has a different meaning in that country, explaining that it meant their families had agreed that they could communicate with each other, not that they were getting married.

Alhasan, responding to direct questions by the prosecutor, denied strangling Ly from behind or using any items, such as a belt, to choke her.

At one point during the prosecution’s questioning Alhasan broke down into tears and sobs, and appeared to be on the verge of hyperventilating. After jurors left the courtroom, the judge repeatedly directed Alhasan to calm his breathing.

Closing arguments in the trial are expected to begin on Tuesday morning.