A man of Jordanian descent may receive the death penalty after he was found guilty by a Texas jury of killing his American son-in-law and his daughter’s close friend in “honor killings” linked to her marriage to a non-Muslim.
According to prosecutors in Houston, Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, resorted to murder in reaction to his daughter, Nesreen Irsan, converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian man. He took the life of her husband and close friend who had supported their relationship.
"Honor and shame, that's what this is all about," special prosecutor Anna Emmons said to jurors. "You heard him say honor is a big deal to him. And the only way to clean that honor is to kill."
Irsan's trial of five weeks culminated in only 35 minutes of juror deliberation Thursday when he was convicted in the murder of Coty Beavers and Gelareh Bagherzadeh, according to the Houston Chronicle. Irsan’s sentencing hearing is set to begin Friday, as he faces a life sentence or the death penalty.
In testifying, Irsan said that he and his family were enraged after his daughter went off to marry Beavers and that Bagherzadeh encouraged their relationship and marriage.
Nesreen testified that her father forbade her from dating non-Muslims, and in knowing this, she sought a restraining order to prevent her family from bothering her after she moved in with Beavers.
Irsan's wife, Shmou Alrawabdeh, who testified last week that her religiously observant Muslim husband believed it to be his duty to kill Beavers to restore his honor, confessed to the jury that he broke into Beavers' apartment and shot him to death.
Alrawabdeh was also charged in the case, but she pleaded guilty to a lesser kidnapping charge in exchange for testifying against Irsan.
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