Retrial of man accused in Perkins hospital killing begins

The retrial of the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center patient accused of strangling a fellow patient to death in 2010 began in Howard County Circuit Court on Monday, according to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.

El Soundani El Wahhabi, 52, is accused of strangling Susan Sachs, 45, to death in her Jessup hospital bed on Sept. 26, 2010.

In March 2012, a deadlocked jury declared a mistrial after 11 hours of deliberation.

During opening statements on Monday, the prosecution described El Wahhabi's actions as "deliberate, willful and premeditated," according to Kirwan. 

El Wahhabi's defense attorney told the jury that Sachs and El Wahhabi were best of friends and that her death resulted in a botched murder-suicide pact, Kirwan said. 

After opening statements, the prosecution called five witnesses, Kirwan said.

The case is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. 

 Clifton T. Perkins is a state maximum security psychiatric hospital located in Jessup.

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