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Jurors hear recording of Munawar Toha hiring hitman before murder trial

Undercover detective posed at hitman agreeing to kill witnesses in murder trial


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The prosecution rested its case Tuesday afternoon in the trial of a South Florida man accused of beating his wife to death in 2010 and dumping her body in a canal.

Munawar Toha faces life in prison for the killing of his wife, Surya, who he was married to for 10 years and had two children with. He's already serving a 30-year sentence for hiring a hit man to kill four witnesses in this case.

The motive is still a mystery to investigators, though they speculate a $150,000 insurance policy could be behind the murder.

Last week, jurors saw surveillance video from the night of Surya Toha's killing. The video shows a man, believed to be Munawar Toha, pulling into a parking lot, pulling out a bicycle from his wife's car, and then, pushing the car into a lake -- all while his wife's body is inside the trunk. The man is then seen pedaling away.

On Tuesday, the testimony focused around DNA found at the murder scene. This included 40 items that mostly belonged to the victim, except for the tape found wrapped around her head, where the defense claims Toha's DNA should be found if he is the killer.

"Of the items I did test for DNA, I found no profile that was consistent with him," said DNA analyst Christopher Comar.

The state called its last witness, Bill Walker, later in the afternoon. Walker is a Fort Lauderdale detective whom Toha  tried to hire to kill the four witnesses in this trial. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in that case. 

Prosecutors also played jailhouse conversations secretly recorded by Walker.

"What do you want to do?" asked Walker in the recording.

"(Unintelligible) for a while you know, disappear for a while," said Toha.

"I don't really understand 'For a while,' because what am I going to do with them. You know what I mean?" said Walker.

"Yeah, it's uh...," said Toha.

"I mean, permanent or just...?" asked Walker.

"Permanent," said Toha.

Toha told the judge he would like to think about whether or not he will take the stand in his own defense Wednesday. The jury is expected to get the case about Noon.

Follow John Turchin on Twitter @johnturchin

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