A Muslim man who immigrated from Jordan to the United States was found guilty of participating in an "honor killing" plot -- including a plan to kill his own daughter for converting to Christianity -- and was sentenced to death by a jury in Houston on Tuesday.
Although the "honor killings" were to include five victims, the Muslim father, Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, was also found guilty of murdering his daughter Nesreen's new husband, Coty Beavers, 28, and her best friend, Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30, reported the Houston Chronicle.
Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan apparently was enraged over his daughter's conversion from Islam to Christianity, her marriage to a Christian, and for her leaving home. He apparently wanted to "wash his honor in blood," the jury was told.
At the sentencing, Coty Beavers' mother read a victim impact statement, reported the Chronicle, in which she said, “On November 12, 2012, Ali Irsan and his family destroyed life as we knew it forever. That was the day they ambushed and murdered Coty, to restore honor to someone who never had any.”
A friend of victim Gelarah Bagherzadeh told the court, "By taking Gelareh away from us, they took away a true human being who would have helped anyone in any way that crossed her path throughout her life. They took something good from our society.”
During the trial, Prosecutor Jon Stephenson said of Irsan, "He wanted to kill her [Nesreen]. But he wanted to kill all those she loved first, so that she would suffer that much more before she died."
The Chronicle also reported that, during the trial, "One of Irsan’s daughters also testified that he cheered the 9/11 attacks on America and praised Osama bin Laden, and told his children they should volunteer to become suicide bombers."
Although the trial took more than 5 weeks, the jury deliberated less than an hour to determine Irsan's fate.
In Texas, a death penalty sentence is decided by the jury, not the judge, and the death sentence must be unanimous. The death is executed by lethal injection. Since 1976, Texas has executed 553 criminals.
Because of his death penalty sentence, Irsan is allowed to appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.