Judge’s Son Shoots Wife Dead, Claims Self Defense

Blood soaked the couch under her head, which makes it appear she was shot while the left side of her head was against the couch.

Cuyahoga County judge calls 911 to report shooting, her son later arrested and charged with murdering wife

MAY 30, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JAN 2, 2022

UCLID, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained the chaotic 911 call made by a Cuyahoga County judge following a deadly shooting in Euclid shortly before police arrested the judge’s son.

On the 13-minute call, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams tells a dispatcher there is an emergency at a home on East 265th in Euclid.

She tells a dispatcher “there may be a person there that’s wounded. I am on my way back there now, there may have been some shots fired, there may be an injured person there.”

During the lengthy call, the dispatcher asks the woman her name, and Collier-Williams first identified herself only as “Cassandra”, but then saying, “I’m a judge. Tell them I’m a county judge.”

The judge’s son, Omnisun Azali, 35, is charged with the murder of Mwaka Azali, 37, who was found dead inside the home in the 100 block of E. 265th on Wednesday.

The judge said Azali was sitting in the car with her, she had picked him up and they were going to the East 265th home.

“How long ago did he say this happened,” the dispatcher asked.

The judge responded, “I’m thinking maybe about a half hour, not sure, but about a half hour.”

When the dispatcher asked Collier-Williams if Omnison had said he shot his wife, Mwaka, the judge responded, “he is not sure.”

“I guess they were both shooting at each other,” the judge said. She also told the dispatcher Omnison was not hurt and had no weapons on him.

She also said she was not sure if Mwaka was injured.

“I am driving back now, everybody is very chaotic right now,” the judge said.

When they got to the house, police were on scene and Omnison was taken into custody.

He appeared in court Friday and a $1 million bond was set. He is due back in court next week. Omnison’s attorney, Jeffrey Saffold, could not be reached to discuss the case.

Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer said he could not discuss the case at this time because it remains under investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim, her family, and loved ones,” the chief said.

Omnison works in the Cuyahoga County IT Department. Cuyahoga County officials could not be reached to give a status on his employment.

Ruth Mwaka Azali

Cuyahoga County judge’s son accused of fatally shooting wife in Euclid, court records say

MAY 29, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JAN 2, 2022

Omnisun Azali, 35, is charged with murder in the Wednesday fatal shooting of his wife, Mwaka Azali. He is being held in the Cuyahoga County Jail on $1 million bond after his initial appearance Friday in Euclid Municipal Court.

Azali is a former soldier in the U.S. Army who served a tour in Iraq. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation helped Euclid police process the crime scene for evidence. He worked as a project coordinator for the City of Cleveland Water Pollution Control from January 2017 until he resigned from his $81,000-per-year job in December, according to city records and city spokeswoman Latoya Hunter Hayes.

The shooting happened Wednesday evening at the couple’s home on East 265th Street, north of Lakeshore Boulevard. Mwaka Azali died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.

The shooting happened Wednesday evening at the couple’s home on East 265th Street, north of Lakeshore Boulevard. Mwaka Azali died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.

Euclid Police Capt. Mitch Houser on Thursday refused to release even basic information on the incident. The city has not responded to a public records request for the report and a copy of the initial 911 call made by Collier-Williams to Euclid police.

Collier-Williams when reached on Friday said she did not want to comment and referred a reporter to defense attorney Jeffrey Saffold.

Saffold told cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer that the shooting amounted to self-defense. He said Omnisun Azali served his country in Iraq and has no history of violence.

“This is just an awful tragedy that his family is suffering with,” Saffold said.

Saffold said he believes Euclid police rushed to charge his client. He called for an open and thorough investigation.

“We’re hoping there won’t be an indictment,” Saffold said. “When there’s an officer-involved shooting, they spend weeks if not months trying to determine whether or not to indict. We hope that because his service to his country and long law-abiding life, and being a good father, they show him the same respect as police and don’t jump to indict.”

Saffold said his client got into an argument with his wife while trying to take their son to a doctor’s appointment. He said Mwaka Azali fired at his client first and that he fired back.

Collier-Williams called police about 4 p.m. and told dispatchers that “there may have been some shots fired” and that she “had someone with her who may have shot someone,” the records say. She told dispatchers she did not know the victim’s condition and said her son, Azali, was in her car on the way back to his home.

Collier-Williams also told dispatchers that “both parties were shooting at each other,” according to court records. Dispatchers told the judge not to drive up to the house and to wait until police arrived.

Officers spotted the judge’s car speeding on Lakeshore Boulevard and tried to stop it, according to court records. She turned onto East 265th Street and stopped in front of her son’s home, the records say.

Police by that time had surrounded the home. Officers, with their guns drawn, ordered both the judge and her son out of the car, according to the records. Both complied, and officers led them to separate police cruisers. Omnisun Azali told police someone was injured inside his home and gave officers a key.

Officers went inside and found the 37-year-old woman dead in the living room, slumped partially on the couch.

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson later arrived and found Mwaka Azali with three gunshot wounds— one behind her right ear, one near the top-right portion of her head, and one to her right cheek, according to the records.

Blood soaked the couch under her head, which led Gilson to tell investigators it appeared she was shot while the left side of her head was against the couch.

Officers found multiple bullet casings in the home from two different guns, according to court records. They found a loaded gun next to Mwaka Azali and another, which had apparently malfunctioned after at least one shot was fired, in a bedroom, according to the court records.

Three other bullets hit the wall, according to court records.

Collier-Williams, while still detained in the police cruiser, told investigators that her son showed up at her home, where she met him, and that she drove him back to his home while calling 911.

She told investigators her son’s car remained at her home, along with Mwaka and Omnisun Azali’s children. It is unknown if the children were inside the home at the time of the shooting.

Officers drove Omnisun Azali to the police station, where he declined to answer questions without an attorney. He submitted to a gunshot residue test, but the results were not included in court records.

Investigators combed through the house and found two AR-15 rifles, body armor, hundreds of bullets, and “documentation associated with ‘sniper’ strategy,” according to court records.

Police also reported finding a notebook in a makeshift studio in the basement that depicted “disturbing or violent imagery,” according to court records. One drawing depicted a handgun pointed at what appeared to be a woman with severe injuries to her face and head— with brain matter or blood spurting from the wound— with the caption: “Boom, bang,” according to court records.

Detectives also reported finding a scrap piece of paper with a handwritten note that said: “Need an attorney 2019-2021, She’s in control,” with no additional context, according to court records.

Investigators noted in court records that their initial examination of the scene did not show that a gunfight occurred, as Collier-Williams initially told investigators.

There was no obvious sign of a struggle, no furniture overturned and no broken objects on the floor, court records say. Omnisun Azali was not hurt and Mwaka Azali had no other signs of injury outside the fatal gunshot wounds to her head, according to court records.

Investigators also noted they found no other bullet holes other than in the wall behind Mwaka Azali and the ones that killed her. They also noted that Omnisun Azali did not call 911 after the shooting, opting instead to call his mother.

Saffold said the presence of two fired guns inside the home is proof that the two shot at each other. He also said the fact that Mwaka Azali was found dead on the couch could show that she was shooting at her husband as she fell, and that she landed on the couch after being shot.

“I’m concerned that the Euclid Police Department is starting from an assumption of guilt and working backward to try to achieve the goal or proving him guilty, rather than doing an open investigation of what happened,” Saffold said. “They’re reaching their conclusion and trying to justify it, when this case screams self-defense.”

Omnisun Azali in 2014 published a book titled “Culture Shock: Veteran’s Guide to Adjustment” in which he writes about a step-by-step plan for combat veterans struggling after they serve.

A bio on an Amazon.com listing for the book says he enlisted in the Army as a teenager “with with only a single request: ‘Get me on the front lines.’” He served in Iraq from 2006-2007 as an infantryman assigned to an elite Recon Sniper platoon, according to the book’s bio.

The book chronicled his own experiences adjusting to civilian life, as well as other veterans, including two friends— one who died in Iraq and one who took his own life in South Korea.

The book’s description said he devised his own way to cope with returning from war after he became disenchanted when he went to a psychologist, who “after a mere five-minute meeting told Azali to pick up his anti-depressants prescription at the counter.”

He spoke to veteran’s groups across the country before writing the book, the bio says.

Son of Cuyahoga County judge pleads not guilty to aggravated murder

JUNE 15, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JAN 2, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The 25-year-old son of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams pleaded not guilty to killing his wife at his arraignment Tuesday morning.

Euclid police said Omnisun Azali murdered his wife Mwaka inside their home in the 100 block of E. 265th Street on May 26.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said Mwaka died of a gunshot wound to the head.

The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Omnisun on the charges of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, domestic violence and endangering children.

He is being held on a $900,000 bond and will be back in court on July 29.

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Judge’s Son Shoots Wife Dead, Claims Self Defense
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