Howard man charged with attempted murder

Ellicott City resident went to police, claiming he had killed his ex-wife

July 13, 2005|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,SUN STAFF

An Ellicott City man once wanted by the FBI for faking his identity as a dentist was being held without bail yesterday at the Howard County Detention Center after turning himself in Saturday, claiming he had killed his ex-wife, Howard County police said.

Ghafour "Billy" Asemani, 38, walked into police headquarters about 8 a.m. and told the officer at the front desk that he had killed Samira Salmassi, 38, the mother of his three children, that morning during an argument in which he struck her with a tape recorder and "placed his hands around her neck," according to court records.

The argument began when Asemani confronted his ex-wife about telephone conversations that he had taped of her speaking to other men, court documents said.

"She is dead," Asemani told police. He had placed the children, ages 7 to 12, with relatives in Virginia. Despite being divorced, they were living together.

When police arrived at the apartment the two shared in the 8800 block of Town and Country Blvd., they found Salmassi alive and unconscious on the bathroom floor. She was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she remained in critical condition yesterday.

"She was hard-working," said Roxanne Bunigan of Baltimore, who had worked with Salmassi in a lab at Howard County General Hospital.

Asemani, who according court records came to the United States from Iran on a student visa in 1984, has been charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, assault in the first and second degree, and reckless endangerment. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Howard County police said that they had received no 911 calls or requests for help from Salmassi or the residence.

Salmassi, who also was born in Iran, filed for divorce from Asemani after 10 years of marriage in 2001 while he served a 2 1/2 -year federal prison sentence for mail fraud and health-care fraud committed when the couple lived in Jackson, Miss.

Patients filed multiple civil suits against Asemani for botched dental procedures. These included the removal of three good teeth, for which the victim was awarded $100,000, and a botched root canal that caused a woman to bleed for two weeks.

In applying for his Mississippi dental license, Asemani claimed he received his medical degree in dentistry from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, which he did not attend, according to an article in a November 2000 edition of The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson.

Days before his scheduled appearance in federal court on criminal fraud charges in 1999, Asemani fled to Iran. He negotiated a plea bargain with prosecutors before returning almost a year later. He was taken into custody at Washington Dulles International Airport in October 2000.

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