A man already sentenced to life in prison for fatally beating his wife while in the throes of divorce, has been ordered to pay more than $10 million to the couple's daughter. Nassau Supreme Court Justice Roy S. Mahon last week ruled that Ali Bessaha must pay $5 million in compensatory damages for the conscious pain and suffering that Ourida Bessaha experienced as he beat her about the head. A medical examiner testifying at the inquest called it "the most brutal murder" she had ever seen. Judge Mahon also awarded $5 million in punitive damages, together with $60,000 in lost earnings and $10,000 for funeral expenses. He called the defendant's acts "some of the most reprehensible conceivable in civilized society." Mr. Bessaha did not appear in or defend against the suit, which was filed last year by Charles M. Mirotznik of Manhattan. "From my point of view, justice has prevailed," said Mr. Mirotznik. "Hopefully the decision will be heard and recognized by the courts throughout the nation." Mr. Bessaha secreted some of the couple's $1.5 million in assets in Paris bank accounts, the lawyer said, adding that he plans to pursue those funds.
by Andrew Harris