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Houston ‘honor killings’ defendant takes witness stand in his own defense

July 25, 2018 GMT

A Jordanian immigrant on trial for allegedly plotting two “honor killings” took the stand Wednesday in his own defense, a day after an emotional outburst outside the presence of the jury.

Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, 60, on Tuesday shouted that prosecutors in his case are “devils” and “evil” as he was led from the courtroom, after cross-examination of his son who attempted to provide him with an alibi for one of the slayings.

On Wednesday, Irsan’s defense team has vehemently disagreed with Irsan’s decision to testify in his own defense, including in a separate hearing earlier this week and a brief hearing just before he took the stand..

The unusual double homicide case has made news across the country since Irsan was arrested and accused of killing his son-in-law and his daughter’s close friend because they disgraced his honor by helping his daughter, Nesreen, convert to Christianity. The fatal shootings of Nesreen Irsan’s husband, Coty Beavers, and her close friend, Gelareh Bagherzadeh happened 11 months apart in 2012.

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Irsan was said he wanted to testify to “tell his story.”

“I would rather meet my maker knowing that I did everything I could,” Irsan, a devout Muslim, told the judge in open court. “I don’t want to be convicted of something that I could have explained.”

The trial, in state District Jan Krocker’s court, is in the fifth week of testimony.

If convicted of capital murder, Irsan could face the death penalty.