HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Family members of Ali Irsan are trying to convince a jury to spare his life in this punishment phase of the so-called "honor killing" trial. They're not even in the country, but pleas from Irsan’s loved ones are being heard loud and clear as a jury tries to decide if Irsan should live or die for committing the capital murders of his daughter’s husband and friend.
The man Irsan’s relatives are describing sounds completely different from the so-called Muslim extremist who hunted and murdered two Houstonians who shamed him.
"He has a good heart,” says Irsan’s sister Newal Alrawabdeh. Irsan's brothers and nieces also testified via web cam from Jordan through a translator. His 18-year-old son also took the stand on his father’s behalf. As for Irsan's father? His siblings told jurors he was violent and abusive particularly to Irsan.
“He used to cut his hair with the scissors on one side or the blade just to let him look funny. He was strict with us. He used to hit and he used to cuss,” says Irsan’s brother Abdullah Alrawabdeh.
"He was harsh, harsh,” another brother Awad Adbullarh says about their father.
They say Irsan also seemed severely affected by the war in Jordan and the dead bodies they would encounter causing him at least once to pass out from fear. "He was very, very scared. I poured some water on him so he can wake up,” explains Irsan’s sister.
Irsan could be sentenced to death. He’s convicted of Capital Murder for killing his 25-year-old daughter’s husband Coty Beavers and her friend Gelareh Bagherzadeh who were both Christians, to "regain honor", after his daughter also converted to Christianity. They were killed 11 months apart in 2012.
In 1999, Irsan was cleared in the death of his oldest daughter’s husband in Montgomery County. Although several people testified Irsan planted a pistol in his son-in-law’s hand, Irsan’s brother told jurors it was self defense.
"I saw Amjad carrying a pistol and he pointed it to my brother,” says Khalid Alrawabdeh.
Irsan’s attorneys are advising against it, but Irsan says he will testify on his own behalf. He’s expected to take the stand tomorrow. Closing arguments are set for Monday. Then jurors will deliberate and decide if Ali Irsan will be sentenced to death.