Farmington Hills teen accused of killing mom to be tried as adult

Posted at 2:43 PM, Dec 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-08 16:17:41-05

A 16-year-old accused of smothering his mother and then throwing her out of the second-story window of her Oakland County home was in court today for a preliminary hearing.

Muhammad Altantawi will be bound over for trial after testimony was given in the murder case against him. Altantawi is charged with First Degree Premeditated Murder and will be charged as an adult.

Detectives in the case said Friday they found security footage from the home that showed Nada Huranieh, 35, falling to the ground and a shadow cast around her body before she fell out of the window. They said the shadow indicated there was a struggle before she fell from the bathroom window. The video was only showed to the judge and attorneys, but the Farmington Hills Police Sgt. Richard Wehby described it in court.

“It appears that the person that was in the room looks out the window that the body came out of. Then it disappears, then there’s another appearance by a person, looks like they might be putting the ladder in front of the window,” he said.

A forensic pathologist said Huranieh had been smothered and was already dead when her body fell out of a second-story window and landed on a backyard patio.  While Dr. Ortiz-Reyes concluded that asphyxia from smothering was the primary cause of Huranieh's death, he also said that blunt force trauma was a secondary cause.

The first Farmington Hills Police officer to respond to the 911 call of an accidental fall testified Friday that when he arrived at the home, Altantawi was next to his mother's body doing chest compressions with one hand while holding the phone and talking to a 911 dispatcher with the other hand. 

Sgt. Wehby testified that when he first questioned 16-year-old Muhammad Altantawi about his mother’s death, he told the officer he learned about it when his sister discovered their mother’s body.  But when he learned police had surveillance video that might tell a different story, his alibi changed. Now, he told officers he was helping his mom clean the bathroom window, then saw her accidentally fall off a ladder.

“He admitted to looking out the window and then he said he wanted to believe this didn’t happen, so he went back and took a shower and went back to bed,” said Sgt. Wehby.

Nada Huranieh and her husband were estranged and in the middle of a divorce. He was not residing in the house at the time of her death and is not a suspect.

Nada's former divorce attorney, Carolyn Markowitz, says Nada had had enough of her marriage after her husband reportedly threw her down the stairs in 2016.

Markowitz says it seemed that the couple's teenage son was sympathizing with his father who thought Huranieh was straying away from Muslim traditions and becoming too Americanized.

RELATED: Farmington Hills teen accused of smothering mom before pushing body out window