Grant Commutation to Shajia Ayobi

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My mother, Shajia Ayobi, is a 52 year old grandmother serving 21 years-to-life for first degree murder. She is one of many other domestic violence survivors fighting to have their stories heard. My mother is currently appealing to California Governor Jerry Brown to commute her sentence down to manslaughter.

In December of 2011, my father was murdered in what my mother initially claimed to be a carjacking. Exactly one month after, my mother was charged with his murder, leading to a never-ending legal battle to bring her home to her 4 kids, all between the ages of 12-17 at the time.

Since then, my mother has taken responsibility for her actions following the death of my father. She regrets her loss of faith in God and her family as well as her choice to keep the truth to herself. She attributes this to her loss of reality and only hopes to now seek help in investigating her case.

Some of the points she has made in her case to the governor’s office:

  • The District Attorney admitted in the open court of her alleged accomplice Jake Clark’s trial that he made a mistake by charging my mother as the actual shooter. The DA said the DNA report came to him after my mother’s trial which would by law call for a new trial, however, she was never notified. He did not do this and based on this, this is a Brady Violation ground for her case that should have asked the California Supreme Court to grant her a new trial. 
  • Following this is her own defense council's strategy that lead her to go along with the DA’s theory: My mom did this to get out of her marriage without the stigma of divorce in the Afghan community as well as a life insurance payout. My mother’s state of mind at that point in time kept her from going against this theory. She stood on the stand and agreed with this story instead of countering some of the evidence that was used against her. My mother now wants to counter the DA’s theory and evidence.

Some of the evidence she is hoping to be investigated are:

  • store footage of where she purchased a knife and not a gun for self defense if and when my father acted on her. 
  • store footage of the bank where money was withdrew — along with this is the testimonial from those who actually received the money as well as witnesses.

My mother is now seeking to prove the truth by having her case re-examined. Her sentence has already been lowered from 26 years-to-life to 21 years-to-life thanks to Proposition 57. 

As her children, this reexamination will provide closure to this never-ending chapter of our lives.  

During her time at the Central California’s Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California, she has been involved in multiple programs including:

  • The Alternative to Violence Project — my mother now serves as a facilitator and works with other inmates.
  • Substance Abuse — Starting Monday July 23, 2018, my mother will begin the second phase of this program. She is expecting to graduate and become a California Certified Counselor for Substance Abuse. *Although she was not a substance abuser, she found similarities in the flaws both her and a substance abuser had.

These are the two programs my mother hopes to continue working for in and outside of prison. My mother’s goal is to one day help other women in her Middle Eastern community learn to utilize some of the skills she has learned.

On the day of my mother's sentencing, she made a final statement promising to remain consistent in her children’s’ lives — While not physically, she promised to be with us emotionally. My mother has kept her promise and has been with us through marriage, through the birth of her two grandchildren, through the college acceptance letters, through the high school and college graduations. The list goes on. We as her children, hope to continue sharing our next big moments with our mom and pray to have her there with us both emotionally and physically.

Please sign and share this petition in support of our families’ efforts to lower my mother’s sentence. 

Masi Ayobi, Mashal Ayobi, Sara Ayobi, Zahra Ayobi, & Sosun Nayemi