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Biftu Dadi, A Beautiful Soul Stabbed To Death

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Her name meant sunrise, and those who knew her say it fit.

A daughter of Seattle’s Oromo community, Biftu Dadi was remembered as a smart, spirited young woman. She treasured her family, her friends say, and held to her Muslim faith even as her light dimmed.

“Biftu Dadi was a beautiful soul,” friend Ahmed Musa told the 300-or-so people who recently gathered under the arching timbers of the New Holly community center in South Seattle. Elders in East African dress joined Dadi’s recent coworkers – dancers from Seattle area strip clubs – in applauding the sentiment.

Dadi’s life was cut short at 24 when she was knifed on March 9 in the back of an SUV parked in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

The circumstances were bizarre. The man accused of killing her, Attila Richards, is said to have driven her around for hours after stabbing her. Arriving at a state mental hospital in Lakewood, he tried to check himself in as security staff found Dadi’s body.

Police say Richards claimed he was defending himself when he stabbed Dadi after nodding off with her in her Jeep Cherokee. Prosecutors will likely argue Richards’ bid for victimhood is undercut by the severity of the attack – Dadi suffered seven deep stab wounds, including one that nearly severed her spine – and his total failure to get help for Dadi as she bled to death.