Capital murder conviction in Houston 'honor killings' trial

The Muslim father accused of killing his daughter’s Christian husband and friend has been found guilty of capital murder. 

The jury deliberated for only about 35 minutes. The trial lasted for more than a month with strong testimony against Ali Irsan who’s charged with murdering two people who “shamed him”. 

Prosecutors say Irsan was on a mission to regain his honor after his 23-year-old daughter ran away from his house, converted to Christianity, married Coty Beavers who was a Christian and became good friends with Gelareh Bagherzadeh who was also Christian.  In fact, Irsan’s daughter Nesreen was dating Coty and Gelareh was dating Coty’s twin brother Cory. 

Prosecuting attorney Anna Emmons told jurors Irsan, "is a radical extremist Muslim and it’s time someone stands up to him.  Gelareh and Coty tried.  Now it’s your turn.”

Defense attorney Allen Tanner in closing arguments told the jury, “If he killed Coty Beavers it would have been for his daughter moving out.  If he killed Gelareh Bagherzadeh, it would have been because of the phone calls and all of that,” because Gelareh is said to have stood up to Irsan. 

"The cases are not related,” Tanner repeatedly told jurors because under Texas law a murderer can’t be sentenced to death simply for killing more than one person.  The murders have to be connected or carried out in what’s called "the same scheme or course of action”.

Irsan’s wife Shmou Alrawabdeh, who was just 14 years old when she married a then-34-year-old Irsan, took the stand against her husband saying Irsan’s son Nasim killed Bagherzadeh and Beavers back in 2012.  She says she, Irsan and Nasim were there when Gelareh was shot in the head near her Galleria home in January 2012, but according to Shmou only her husband and his son were there when Beavers was shot at least five times in his own apartment in November 2012. Shmou is Irsan’s second wife.  He has four kids with his first wife.  He went on to have eight more kids with Shmou.

Irsan took the stand in his own defense yesterday telling jurors he didn't have anything to do with the killings.  Although his wife and nephew testified saying it is their belief that the only way to regain honor once it’s taken away is by shedding blood.