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Docs: Man suspected of killing ex-wife on South Hill has history of domestic violence

Court documents reveal that the suspect had allegedly threatened to kill the victim and another woman who lived with him.

Warning: This story contains graphic and disturbing information. 

SPOKANE, Wash. —  New court documents are providing more insight into a murder suspect’s history of domestic violence and alleged threats to kill multiple women in his life.

Yasir Darraji was arrested on first-degree murder charges on Friday night and his bond was later set at $1 million. He is accused of murdering his ex-wife, whose body was found in a burning car on Spokane’s South Hill on Thursday night.

A Spokane police officer was driving on 27th Avenue near Fiske Street at about 9 p.m. on Thursday when he saw a vehicle where he believed someone was inside, court records say.

He later identified the vehicle as a white 2004 Toyota Prius bearing Washington license plate number ACU2142. The vehicle is registered to the Society of Jesus with an address of 502 E. Boone Ave, which is located on Gonzaga University’s campus, according to court documents.

Another person saw the vehicle parked in the same location at about 9:19 p.m. on Thursday, but realized the inside of the vehicle was on fire and called 911, according to court documents. The Spokane Fire Department responded and found a woman’s body inside of the car.

The inside of the vehicle was burned, mainly in the center console and the driver’s seat, investigators said in court records. It was seized as evidence and placed in a secure facility.

RELATED: Suspect's bond set at $1M after woman's body found in burning car on South Hill

Police records indicated that the vehicle was linked to a prior Spokane County Sheriff’s Office report on Jan. 9, 2020. The complaining party was linked to the suspect, Yasir Darraji.

The suspect’s ex-wife asked to meet with the suspect’s best friend, and he agreed. Both the suspect and his friend met with her in the parking, court records say. The suspect’s friend called his phone and placed it in his pocket with the line open prior to entering the vehicle so the suspect could record the conservation.

The suspect’s ex-wife had a friend with her in the vehicle, court records say. She confronted the suspect’s friend about spreading rumors that she was pregnant and unmarried.

All of those involved in the incident have lived in Iraq and rumors such as this can "bring great shame in their culture," court records say.

The suspect’s best friend claimed he was assaulted by the ex-wife’s friend over the suspicion that he was responsible for spreading the rumors, court records say.

Court records say no police action was taken and the deputy never questioned why both men wanted to record the conversation.

On Friday, Jan. 31, the woman found dead in the burned car was identified as Darraji’s ex-wife through an autopsy. The cause of death was listed as strangulation and the manner was homicide.

During the autopsy, there was preliminary indication there was an accelerant on the victim and her clothes, which is indicative of arson to destroy evidence, court records say.

The body and her vehicle were found approximately two blocks away from the current address of the suspect’s best friend on E. 29th Ave.

A staff member at St. Aloysius Church told KREM's Amanda Roley on Monday that the victim worked as a maintenance staff member at the church from September 2018 to September 2019. 

He added that she was a great employee that staff members loved having around at the church.

The victim had lived in the United States for five years and received assistance from World Relief Spokane during that time, the staff member told KREM. 

Court documents say that the same staff member told investigators that the victim expressed some concerns for her safety regarding her Iraqi family and friends.

Another priest at Gonzaga said the vehicle registered to the Society of Jesus had been sold to the victim, according to court documents.

A friend told investigators that she was friends with both the suspect and victim and explained that there had been difficulties between the two after the divorce, court records say. She told them the victim had started to go to night clubs, which angered the suspect.

She added that the two have children together. Later, she told authorities that she had a conversation with the suspect about leaving the victim alone and he became angry. He said he wanted the victim to leave her children and move back to Iraq, according to court documents.

The friend told authorities that the suspect said he would kill the victim If she didn’t do this, court documents say.

The friend and suspect live in the same apartment complex. At about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 30, the friend received a text from the victim that she was on her way to drop off some items before picking up her son from her ex-husband, court records say. But she never arrived at the friend’s home.

On Jan. 31, investigators tried to contact the suspect at his home and received no answer at the door. They interviewed their 12-year-old daughter on the same day, who said that her parents are always arguing, court documents say.

Their daughter told investigators that her father left his apartment on the night of Jan. 30 at 6:11 p.m. She believed he was going to work as an Uber driver, according to court documents.

When she woke up the next morning, her father wasn’t home and this was unusual to her, court documents say.

Suspect has history of domestic violence, threats to kill

Another woman who spoke with investigators said she had a relationship with the suspect for about four years prior to the incident, according to court documents. She said she lived with him at his apartment.

The woman told investigators that he assaulted her multiple times, which included numerous times that he choked her. She said he also threatened to kill her multiple times, court records say.

According to court documents, the woman told investigators that she became pregnant with the suspect’s baby. She said there was an incident while she was pregnant where the suspect held a knife to her throat and threatened to punch her in the stomach to kill the child.

The suspect did not harm the child and the woman gave birth, court records say. He pays child support to this day.

She said that while she lived with the suspect, he always kept a two-gallon can of gas on his back porch, court records say. 

She told investigators that she was aware he had made threats to kill his ex-wife, court records say.

Suspect left work in a hurry on Friday, co-worker says

A man who works with the suspect at Ashley Furniture told investigators that they worked together on Friday, Jan. 31. At the end of their shift, the suspect parked the work truck and left immediately, telling his co-worker that he had a family emergency, court records say.

On. Friday, a detective found the suspect driving away from Ashley Furniture and detained him, court documents say. He was placed in handcuffs and patted down for weapons.

Court records say the suspect never asked why he was being detained and appeared unconcerned. He never mentioned a family emergency.

An officer that viewed surveillance footage saw the suspect running to his vehicle following his work shift on Jan. 31.

A detective located the suspect’s best friend, whose home is about two city blocks from where the victim’s body in the burned vehicle was found. He said he last spoke to the suspect at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 30.

He told investigators that he and the suspect share medication because their healthcare is limited. The suspect said he had some of his medication and would bring it to his home, but never arrived as promised, court records say.

He said the last time he saw the victim was Jan. 9, when he was allegedly assaulted by her friend, according to court documents.

When investigators spoke to the suspect about his ex-wife’s death, they said he briefly looked like he might cry, but quickly stopped and said it didn’t matter because she was his ex-wife, court records say.

Suspect tells investigators that he did not want a divorce

The suspect told investigators that he and the victim had divorced about four years ago, explaining that the victim had been speaking with a friend who told her that she could divorce him and he would have to pay child support, court documents say.

According to court documents, he claimed that he didn’t want a divorce, adding that he loved her and she was a very good wife.

He told investigators that the victim tried to provoke him so she could have him arrested, court records say. Eventually, he agreed and they divorced.

According to court records, he said he began a relationship with another woman after the divorce.

The suspect told police that he spoke with the victim at about 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 when she arrived at his apartment to pick up her son for the weekend.

He said the victim would only partially roll down the window and that marijuana smoke was coming out of the vehicle, court records say.

He told investigators that an argument ensued where he had to gently push the victim away from him, according to court documents.

The suspect told investigators that he went back inside his apartment and left shortly after for his job as a Lyft driver, court records say. He said he was so upset that he turned off his Lyft app and drove around the Spokane area.

Investigators say his timeframe changed throughout the interview, according to court documents. He claimed he was gone from home for about an hour to an hour-and-a-half and he may have left as early as 6:30 p.m. and arrived home as late as 9:30 p.m., shortly before the vehicle fire was reported.

He also told investigators that he never went to his best friend’s home, court records say. He denied ever seeing the victim again and refused to answer any more questions.

The suspect, Yasir Darraji, is expected to appear in court at 2 p.m. on Monday.

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