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A Bay Ridge father of two was arrested on April 22 for allegedly strangling his live-in girlfriend to death with an extension cord and then dumping her body outside a Queens cemetery in a poor attempt to cover his tracks.
Police alleged that Muhammad Iqbal, a 45-year-old resident of 93rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues, apparently didn’t realize that cops would be able to identify his former love’s remains and come knocking on his door.
But that’s exactly what they did. After getting fingerprints from the strangled body found lying in the grass outside Montefiore Cemetery at the corner of 228th Street and Francis Lewis Boulevard at 11:30 pm on April 14, it didn’t take long for them to identify her as 44-year-old Khadija Mahel, a Moroccan immigrant who had two sons with Iqbal.
When Queens investigators paid him a visit last week, he immediately confessed to killing his long-time girlfriend.
According to his own statements, Iqbal and Mahel were arguing on April 13 when he grabbed an extension cord and wrapped it around her neck like a garrotte. A few minutes later, she was dead.
In a panic, he stuffed her body under their bed so their children, ages 6 and 7, wouldn’t know what happened.
Prosecutors allege that Iqbal kept his girlfriend’s body under the bed for 29 hours. When the coast was finally clear, he rolled Mahel into a rug and jammed her body into the back seat of his car.
But the coast wasn’t entirely clear. Witnesses reportedly told investigators they saw Iqbal put the rug into his car at 8 pm on April 14, but thought nothing of it. Three and a half hours later, Mahel’s body was found in Queens.
“The defendant is accused of senselessly murdering his girlfriend — with whom he had two children — and tossing her body out like a piece of trash,” said Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown, who is prosecuting the case since the body was found in the neighboring borough.
After his arrest, Iqbal and Mahel’s two children were put in foster care, adding two more victims to this destructive case.
Iqbal was remanded to custody and arraigned on charges of murder in the second degree over the weekend. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life behind bars.
He’s expected to answer the charges in court on May 6, prosecutors said.
At his arraignment, Iqbal was represented by a Legal Aid Attorney who couldn’t be tracked down for comment by late Monday.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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