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Man gets 27 months for trying to run over wife, daughter

MOORHEAD - A Moorhead man convicted of trying to run over his wife and daughter was sentenced to 27 months in prison Thursday, despite his tearful statements that he needs to care for his family and suffers from mental issues as a result of his civilian work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I need a chance to be out there, get my treatment for my anxiety, for my depression, for everything," Hisham Fazil Ali said in Clay County District Court. "Please, just give me a chance."

After a five-minute break to allow Ali and crying family members behind him to calm down, Judge Michael Kirk told Ali that his statement had some impact on sentencing, but he needs rehabilitation he can't get locally.

Kirk sentenced Ali to concurrent prison terms of 21 months and 27 months on two jury convictions for second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Under state law, he'll serve at least 18 months behind bars and the remainder on supervised release.

Ali had been charged with five counts of assault - one for his wife and each of his four daughters. The jury last month found him guilty of the charges related to his wife and 13-year-old daughter.

Kirk dismissed the other three assault charges Thursday. He also decided not to impose sentences for jury convictions on charges of terroristic threats and domestic assault, saying those "all arose out of the same behavioral incident."

According to the complaint, Ali had gotten into a fight with his wife on March 21 and told her and the four children to leave the house. His wife told police that as they started crossing a field in search of help, Ali got into the family's Chrysler Pacifica and drove toward them. His wife said he was within several feet of them, going 50 to 100 mph, before he turned away.

Harris said family members were emotionally harmed by the incident, which she noted was Ali's second domestic incident involving his wife.

He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault in May 2010, court records show.

A presentence investigation found Ali has untreated mental illness, defense attorney Blair Nelson said. He said Ali had a good job as a civilian contractor for the military, but it ended when he developed post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

"There's some psychiatric stuff that needs to be dealt with," he said.

Assistant County Attorney Pamela Harris said she found it convenient that Ali's mental issues were raised at sentencing, but not before or during trial.

"A lot of people come back from overseas and don't try to run their family over," she said.

However, some do commit offenses, and those are often publicized, Nelson noted. He said raising the mental health issue at trial would have been extremely prejudicial to Ali.

Ali said he has suffered from PTSD since 2009 and knows he needs treatment. He said he's been "a great dad" to his kids and never tried to hurt his family.

"I have six women to take care of," he said.

"I know, but the court can't ignore the seriousness of the conduct here," Kirk said.

Ali's family wanted the court to lift a no-contact order, Harris said. It was automatically vacated because of the prison sentence, and the family will be allowed to visit Ali in prison. Kirk also granted a one-hour visitation before Ali left for prison.

Ali's family declined to comment after the hearing.