Jordanian-born man convicted of capital murder
HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas jury deliberated just 35 minutes Thursday before finding a Jordanian-born man guilty of capital murder in the 2012 deaths of his son-in-law and a close friend of his daughter.
The verdict in Harris County came a day after Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan testified in his own defense against his attorney’s advice.
Jurors will begin hearing evidence Friday morning on punishment. Irsan could be sentenced either to death by lethal injection or life imprisonment without parole for killing Coty Beavers and Gelareh Bagherzadeh.
Irsan testified that his daughter caused his family pain after running away and marrying Beavers, who was Christian. Bagherzadeh, an Iranian women’s rights activist who was his daughter’s close friend, encouraged the marriage.
He admitted Wednesday to numerous lies but argued that he doesn’t remember what he said while angry.
“I’ve said things that were untrue, but I haven’t told any lies to the jury,” Irsan said.
His daughter, Nesreen Irsan, had testified that her father forbade her from dating Christians. She said she went to court to obtain a protective order to stop her family from harassing her after she moved in with Beavers.
Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan acknowledged that he violated the protective order by continuing to call his daughter and drive near Beavers’ home. But he said he was concerned his daughter was on drugs and making bad decisions.
Among the nearly 100 witnesses in the trial was his wife, Shmou Alrawabdeh, who testified last week that her conservative Muslim husband believed he had to kill the Beavers to recover his honor. She told the jury that Irsan sneaked into Beavers’ apartment before fatally shooting him.
Irsan alleged in his testimony that his son, Nasim Irsan, was selling drugs and had attempted to poison him. Nasim Irsan, 24, is being held in Harris County jail on capital murder charges for the two slayings.