An Alexandria, Virginia, man was convicted of first-degree murder Monday in the death of a woman after she tried to end their relationship.
A jury found 44-year-old Daniel Kankam guilty of killing Somaya Hussein Ahmed at her apartment on South Van Dorn Street in January 2019.
The jury recommended a sentence of 23 years in prison for murder and three years for use of a firearm in the commission of murder, a total of 26 years. A judge will formally pronounce his sentence at a hearing scheduled in November.
Hussein Ahmed tried to end her relationship with Kankam before she was killed, according to NBC Washington.
A news release from the City of Alexandria’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said police received a call on Jan. 11, 2019 from Hussein Ahmed’s roommate saying she had discovered the victim dead.
When Alexandria police arrived on the scene, they confirmed Hussein Ahmed was dead and said she had “significant upper body trauma.”
In a search of the apartment, police did not find any firearms or cartridge casings. The victim’s cellphone was seized from the nightstand in the bedroom where she was found. On the cellphone were two video clips relevant to the case.
A clip on Jan. 11, 2019 was taken around 4 a.m., just minutes before Hussein Ahmed’s death. The video shows the victim and the defendant having a dispute over their relationship.
Hussein Ahmed’s roommate said the victim was dating Kankam, who owned a security company. Kankam — who was married — was the victim’s employer when they first met, but friends of the victim said their relationship soon turned romantic.
On the video, Kankam is shown doing pushups on his knuckles and wearing security gear. He also had a gun in a holster.
He can be heard telling the victim, “You’re pissing me of” and “You should be scared.” The video abruptly ends as Kankam realizes he is being filmed, and he appears angry as he moves toward the camera.
Court documents said that within 12 minutes of the clip, Kankam sent text messages to Hussein Ahmed’s phone, which evidence concluded was Kankam’s attempt to establish a false alibi.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office also said that Kankam rearranged the crime scene to make it look like a robbery gone bad. He moved the victim’s body and removed evidence from the scene, including his gun and a fired cartridge case.
The prosecution said Kankam called a family member from jail and directed the family member to get rid of a bag. Police, tipped off about the bag, recovered it and found that it contained the security vest Kankam was wearing in the video, his wallet, his gun, a fired cartridge and two watches, the news release said.
Forensic analysis established that Kankam’s vest was covered in the victim’s blood and that his gun was the weapon used to kill her.
At the trial, Kankam agreed that his vest was covered in the victim’s blood and that his gun caused her death, but he said that he did not kill her.
He admitted to removing items from the crime scene and repeatedly lying to the police, but denied that he tried to hide evidence.
He said he was in the victim’s bathroom with the door closed, drinking an alcoholic beverage when the victim was killed. He said he was not sure if she killed herself or if an unknown person entered the apartment and used his gun to kill her and then left.
Kankam’s lawyer said that there was no sign of a struggle and the victim’s wound could have been self-inflicted, NBC Washington reported. Kankam was “so drunk,” according to his lawyer, that it would be nearly impossible for him to pull the trigger, NBC Washington reported.
A medical examiner concluded Hussein Ahmed died from a gunshot wound inside her mouth and the gun had been deep inside her mouth when it was fired. The medical examiner testified during trial that the path of the bullet was not typical of suicide.
Hussein Ahmed’s friends said that her relationship with Kankam was “extremely volatile.” A second video clip found in her cellphone shows that on Sept. 30, 2018, Kankam and the victim were arguing in a parking lot over Kankam’s intoxication.
Court documents said that the video shows Kankam drawing and brandishing a firearm at Hussein Ahmed, saying that he was about to “(expletive deleted) kill you.” He drops the gun and puts it back in the holster.
Kankam is behind bars at the Alexandria jail pending his sentencing.