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Arraignment Set Wednesday for Suspect in 5 Slayings

Times Staff Writer

Tufic (Tom) Naddi, who police say has confessed to shooting to death his Jordanian wife and four of her relatives Saturday over a family dispute, is expected to be arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court on five murder charges, the district attorney’s office said Monday.

El Cajon police arrested Naddi, unarmed and wearing pajamas, at his home on Carlow Way on Saturday after he called them to report that he had killed several people, said Lt. Buck Posey, police spokesman. At the time of his arrest, Naddi, 44, confessed to killing his wife, Aida Naddi; her father, Habib Sabbagh; her mother, Lillian Sabbagh; her brother, Michael Sabbagh, and her brother-in-law, Osama Mashini, Posey said.

The San Diego Tribune reported Monday that Naddi said in an interview that the shootings were prompted by the control his father-in-law wielded over the family, which culminated Friday with Habib Sabbagh’s demand that his daughter divorce Naddi and return to Jordan with the couple’s children.

The elder Sabbagh, a multimillionaire who had paid for the Naddis’ expensive Fletcher Hills home and another on Mt. Helix, had arrived Friday with his wife and the other in-laws to take Mrs. Naddi and the couple’s two children back to Jordan, Posey said.

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Attorney Richard Potvin said Mrs. Naddi met with him Friday to begin divorce proceedings.

After hearing that his wife planned to divorce him, Naddi called attorney Alan Fenton to ask if he would represent him. Naddi made an appointment to meet with Fenton on Monday to discuss an injunction to keep his son, Nabil, 5, and daughter, Katherine, 3, from being taken out of San Diego County.

“It was a routine injunction in child custody cases,” Fenton said. “Then, I was driving home from somewhere Saturday and I heard (Naddi’s) name on the radio.”

Fenton said that although Naddi sounded “sad” when he called him Friday, the attorney said he saw “nothing out of the ordinary” about the man’s demeanor. “He just said, ‘My wife’s filing for divorce, can you represent me?’ He did not say, ‘By the way, I’m going to blow them all away.’ ”

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Fenton visited Naddi on Sunday at County Jail, where he is being held without bail. Fenton said he determined that Naddi, a part-time card room dealer who owns no property, could not afford to retain him any further and requested a public defender.

According to police reports and Naddi’s statements in The Tribune jailhouse interview, the dispute that led to Saturday’s massacre was rooted in Habib Sabbagh’s financial and personal control over his daughter. Fenton said that both Mr. and Mrs. Naddi had contacted him three weeks ago to discuss changing the title to their houses, which are registered in the names of Aida Naddi, her father and several other Jordanian relatives. The couple wanted to give full ownership of the houses to Mrs. Naddi, so that their children would be the sole heirs to the property, he said.

The two met with Fenton on several occasions, the last time being early last week.

“A few days later, he told me, ‘Something went wrong with the transaction--don’t do anything,’ ” Fenton said.

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What went wrong, police have determined, was that Sabbagh returned to San Diego from Amman on Friday with three male relatives to bring his daughter and grandchildren back to Jordan.

In his interview, Naddi said he had quarreled often with his in-laws.

Interrogating Naddi after the shootings, police determined that he “had been contemplating this crime for some time,” Posey said.

The children, who were playing in the driveway of the family’s house at the time of the shootings and have not been told of the shootings, are staying with neighbors, Robert and Jane Daynes. An aunt from Jordan is on her way to take custody of the children.

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