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Stabbings preceded beheading of woman Officials unsure if Orchard Park resident was alive when she was decapitated in office

Aasiya Z. Hassan was stabbed several times before being beheaded Feb. 12, and authorities still aren't sure whether she was alive when she was decapitated.

Sources close to the case also have confirmed that Hassan was attacked with hunting knives.

"The certificate of death is going to say stab wounds and decapitation," one law-enforcement source familiar with the case told The Buffalo News.

Orchard Park police have charged her husband, Muzzammil S. Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder in the killing.

Officials investigating the case say that Muzzammil Hassan is not a hunter. It's not clear how authorities believe he obtained the knives.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about the details of the case, refusing to discuss exactly how the 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan was assaulted, the weapons used and the cause of death.

"There's still an ongoing investigation about whether she was alive or dead when her head was cut off," the source added.

Muzzammil Hassan went to Orchard Park Police Headquarters that evening to report that his wife was dead at their business office, a Muslim television station on Thorn Avenue.

However, his defense attorney, James P. Harrington, has said his client did not confess to killing her.

Prosecutors have explained that despite the gruesomeness of the attack, first-degree murder could not be charged, because the facts of the case don't meet the requirements of that charge under New York State law.

First-degree murder, which can lead to a maximum sentence of life without parole, may be charged only in 13 specific types of intentional killings, including the deaths of a judge, corrections officer, police officer or witness, or in torture, contract, terrorist or serial killings.

Muzzammil Hassan's case is expected to go before an Erie County grand jury soon.


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