‘Helter-skelter’ court appearance delays Accomack County rape trial

ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) — An Accomack County man was in court Wednesday for sex crimes related to his stepdaughter. The case is against 68-year-old Khalil Muslimani and the charges date back to 30 years ago.

Muslimani’s three-day trial was scheduled to begin on Wednesday. But, for the second time, the trial was postponed.

Muslimani, who is in a wheelchair and currently being held in the county jail, was in court on Wednesday and was representing himself. In January, he made the decision not to use his court appointed attorney, Paul Watson, who represented him in his last trial related to sex crimes and his niece.

Muslimani faced four charges in the previous case: two counts of carnal knowledge of a minor and two counts of forcible sodomy. In November, he was convicted on all four counts and sentenced to two life sentences and twenty years.

After two hours of motions and witness discussion, Judge F.B. Lowe, of Virginia Beach, said the case was getting out of hand. He referred to what happened in the courtroom as “helter-skelter.”

Not only were several motions made by Muslimani that were discussed in previous hearings, he had a long list of people that were subpoenaed only on Monday or Tuesday. Some on the list included, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Agar, state politicians, five attorneys, and two people who have already died.

Muslimani also subpoenaed two Eastern Shore newspaper reporters, who had both previously done stories on the case.

Lowe continued the trial with a start date of July 5. He set aside four days for the trial, as opposed to the three days as originally planned for.

Lowe also laid down ground rules that any more motions before the trial must be in writing and filed 30 days before the trial. Witness subpoena requests must be in 30 days before, too. There will be one more hearing on June 7 prior to the trial.

WAVY.com asked Muslimani if he still plans to represent himself in July.

“I’m going to defend myself because I know my case backward and forward, and I can speak for myself,” Muslimani told WAVY News’ Liz Palka.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Brenner told WAVY.com afterward that they are disappointed the trial was continued. However, they understand the judge’s ruling and they will be prepared to present the case in July.

The victim in Muslimani’s case has previously identified herself in WAVY.com stories as Stacey Johnson Spione.

Johnson Spione said her stepfather sexually assaulted her from the time she was 4 years old until she was in her late teens. Johnson Spione said by the time she was 17 years old she had four kids by Muslimani. At one point, Johnson Spione said her stepfather legally married her without her consent. She was 15 years old at the time. Although, the marriage certificate from Somerset County, Maryland said she was 18-years-old.

Johnson Spione was shaking and cried during much of the hearing on Wednesday morning. She said the continuation only drags out the pain and terror she feels on a daily basis as she tries to confront her past.

“Things like this just addon; it drags it out,” said Johnson Spione. “It’s like having salt constantly poured into a wound that right now isn’t getting a chance to heal.”

Johnson Spione said she is confident that the case will go on and she will get her chance to testify against Muslimani.

“I do appreciate that Judge Lowe said that he was going to take control of the case, and wasn’t going to let something like this happen.”

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