Preliminary exam in 2004 murder continues

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – The preliminary examination of the evidence against a Dearborn Heights resident accused in a 2004 murder will continue Nov. 17.

Ousaama Othman, 43, allegedly killed Dearborn resident Margaret Webb in 2004 and disposed of her body in the 2800 block of Scotten in Detroit. He allegedly beat her with a blunt object before setting her body on fire.

Othman was charged in July with first-degree murder by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. The preliminary examination began Nov. 1 before 36th District Court Judge Katherine Hansen. It was suspended later that day due to time constraints.

Testimony from a DNA consultant at Louisiana-based GMP Forensic Consultants LLC on Nov. 1 revealed that Webb’s saliva sample in 2007 determined a male subject that came into contact with her before her death. At the time, there could be no comparison made since there was no sample of the DNA in a national DNA database used by law enforcement.

Lynne Helton, a forensic scientist with the Michigan State Police Forensic Laboratory said a match with Othman was determined after a DNA profile was compiled from the results attained by an outside DNA testing company. She testified that there was no sample from the Detroit Police Department.

The attorney for Othman, Canton-based Nabih Ayad, argued that there isn’t enough evidence in the case to proceed with charges. He said that the DNA evidence only proved Othman was with Webbb before she died and the only charge against his client should be manslaughter due to lack of prior intent.

“Just because there’s a murder, doesn’t mean it’s in the first or second degree,” he said, “There was no weapon presented as evidence, there are no fingerprints, no footprints. They have a dead victim … That’s not enough.”

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Michael Reynolds argued enough evidence exists. He said that Webb’s body was found with defensive wounds on her hands, proving that the killer had enough time to premeditate the crime.

“There were a number of injuries that were read into record as multiple blunt-force trauma,” he said. “There were blows inflicted to the head, there’s evidence of trying to destroy evidence. Whoever did this certainly intended to kill her.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)