Tacoma candy store worker allegedly murdered homeless woman with sword

A Tacoma candy store worker is accused of killing a homeless woman with a sword, telling police he’s had enough of her hanging around the store.

Tacoma police were called to the Candy Market on Saturday night at the corner of Ninth and Market St. Officers were responding to reports of a woman being hit with a stick outside the store.

When they arrived, they instead found that a woman had been stabbed and dead. Police say they recognized her as a homeless woman who frequented the neighborhood.

According to court documents, a candy market employee, Abdelhakim Choubabi, walked up to the officers after they arrived and surrendered. unable to read his Miranda rights to him, as Choubabi speaks Arabic.

A witness told police she saw Choubabi come out of the store and attack the homeless woman with a “long stick or pole” as she lay on the ground under a blanket. Choubabi went back to the store, but then came back and beat the woman again, the witness told police.

According to court documents, police also spoke to a man who allegedly chased Choubabi out of the store shortly after the incident. He told police they went to a restaurant, where Choubabi told him the woman had tried to kill him, so he stabbed her. The man said he had to go back and talk to the police, then drove him to the candy market.

Detectives then spoke to Choubabi with an interpreter and read him his Miranda rights. Choubabi told detectives he was tired of the homeless woman because she constantly stole things, “smelled badly” and urinated outside the store, according to court documents. On the same day of her murder, Choubabi said he called the police to have her removed from the store, but officers left when they allegedly saw her leaving.

Then Choubabi said the woman stole sunglasses and condoms from the store, so he followed her and retrieved them. He said she hit him on the back of the head, so he went back into the store, grabbed his sword, came out and attacked her as she sat on the ground outside of the store, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Choubabi told detectives he “intended to kill her.” He handed the sword over, and when he came out, an associate was outside in his car, so he got in and they went to a restaurant.

Police served a search warrant on the candy market and recovered a “large samurai-style sword” and surveillance video inside.

Choubabi was reportedly contacted for mental health issues and released from hospital a day before the incident, according to court documents. He told detectives he had schizophrenia, and police said when he first arrived to surrender he approached them with a knife. Officers say he dropped the knife when ordered to do so.

The medical examiner’s office identified the woman as 37-year-old Odessa Easterlin.

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An autopsy conducted by the medical examiner revealed that the homeless woman’s cause of death was multiple stab wounds and was ruled homicide.