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  1. #1
    Senior Member European Knight's Avatar
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    May 2015

    Post Immigrant testifies to avoid death penalty in Texas

    Immigrant testifies to avoid death penalty in Texas

    By Associated Press
    AUGUST 10, 2018 — 5:00PM

    HOUSTON — A Jordanian immigrant convicted in two deaths prosecutors described as "honor killings" has testified in his own defense for a second time and said witnesses had lied.

    The Houston Chronicle reports Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan testified Friday he constantly gave other people gifts and treated his daughters "like princesses." Irsan was convicted last month in Texas in the deaths of his son-in-law and his daughter's friend who had encouraged the marriage.

    His first wife and a daughter had testified that Irsan raped them and subjected them to years of abuse.

    Irsan is expected to be the last witness in the trial. The jury must determine whether he will be given life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

    Immigrant testifies to avoid death penalty in Texas
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Authorities Say Ali Irsan Stole Out of Greed and Murdered Out of Honor

    JUNE 2, 2015 | 7:00AM

    Coty Beavers was in his northwest Houston apartment on November 12, 2012, when the bullets ripped through him from behind. Whoever pulled the trigger slipped out as easily as he had gotten in, leaving the 28-year-old to die on the floor.

    Two days earlier, a dark-haired man with thick eyebrows perched above his glasses had been wandering around the Legacy Park Apartments, asking people if they knew which apartment was Beavers’s. He looked to be maybe in his forties, with an average build. A police sketch didn’t turn up any leads.

    People had been looking for Coty for a while. In 2011, when Coty and his new wife, Nesreen, lived in his mother’s Spring home, the neighborhood had been peppered with flyers containing an 8x10 color photo of Coty, advertising a reward of up to $100 for information leading to the couple’s home. Witnesses would later tell authorities that they saw Coty’s father-in-law, Ali Irsan, and Irsan’s wife, Shmou, trolling the neighborhood.

    Coty knew his father-in-law to be a very angry, very dangerous man. Ali Mahmood Awad Irsan was a native of Jordan who considered himself to be a devout Muslim. He did not approve of Nesreen seeing Coty, a Christian. In June 2011, while Irsan and one of his sons were in Jordan, his wife and another daughter found emails and texts between Nesreen and Coty. They quickly notified Irsan, who instructed the women to strip Nesreen of her cell phone and laptop and to make sure she didn’t leave the house. Nesreen would later tell authorities she was held captive in her bedroom for two weeks before she was able to slip out of a bathroom window and flee to Coty’s home.

    But that’s not all she had to say: She told authorities that her father had been committing Social Security fraud for years, filing false claims in the names of his children; he had hundreds of fraudulent credit cards — picture a stack of four decks of playing cards — in family members’ names and aliases; countless prescription pills, like Percocet, were tucked in hidden spaces throughout the house, along with cash, guns and jewels. There was so much treasure to hide that he ran out of space inside the house; the tub of a dryer was loaded with loot and buried in the backyard, covered over with dirt and leaves. Plus, Nesreen told authorities, the backyard was a makeshift shooting range. Five or six Muslim families would frequently visit, and the men would fire AK-47s at tree-mounted targets. Her father scared her to death.

    Shortly afterward, Nesreen obtained a protective order against her father, but it appears that the only thing that kept Irsan from his daughter — for a while, anyway — was not knowing her address.

    Coty had two other reasons to be concerned about Irsan. The first was that Irsan had already shot and killed one son-in-law 13 years earlier. Irsan claimed he shot the man, who was in Irsan’s home, in self-defense. Irsan also claimed the man had abused his daughter and that when Irsan shuttled her to safety, the man came over to Irsan’s home with a gun and a bad attitude. Authorities bought it.

    The second was that, ten months before his own murder, in January 2012, someone had gunned down Nesreen’s friend, Gelareh Bagherzadeh, outside her parents’ Galleria-area townhome. The 30-year-old Iranian native had been going out with Coty’s twin brother, Cory. The shooting was still unsolved; police claimed they had no leads, and Crime Stoppers announced a record-high award, $250,000, for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

    On the day he was killed, Coty was last seen walking Nesreen to her car shortly before 6 a.m. He then returned to his apartment. His body was discovered ten hours later. Nine days after that, Harris County Sheriff’s investigators searched Irsan’s home.

    But it would be nearly another two years, after extensive FBI surveillance, before there were any arrests. In May 2014, Irsan, his wife and his daughter Nadia were charged in federal court with defrauding the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then, in April 2015, Irsan, his wife and his son Nasim were also charged with murdering Coty and Gelareh. Montgomery County investigators also announced they were revisiting the 1999 shooting of Irsan’s other son-in-law.

    There were guilty pleas in the federal fraud charges, but the Irsans say they had nothing to do with the deaths of Coty and Gelareh. Someone claiming to be one of Irsan’s 12 children (no name is revealed) created an online petition to release Irsan from custody, claiming that the family are victims of “racial prejudice and discrimination.”

    It will be a massive, complex prosecution — Irsan’s trial is not scheduled until April 2017. It’s unclear at this point what kind of evidence Harris County prosecutors have against the family, but federal and state court records, as well as interviews with those who know members of the Irsan family, paint a disturbing portrait of a controlling, vengeful patriarch who was willing to sacrifice his children’s futures for his warped notion of honor.

    A notion that may have led to three murders.

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Earlier killing detailed in Houston ‘honor killings’ death penalty case

    By Gabrielle Banks
    Updated 1:25 pm CDT, Thursday, August 2, 2018

    Photo: Melissa Phillip, MBO / Associated Press
    In this June 25, 2018 photo, Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan sits in court in Houston. Irsan, a 60-year-old Jordanian-American, is charged with capital murder, accused of killing his daughter’s husband and her best ... more

    The sister of a man killed in 1999 testified Wednesday that long before two highly publicized “honor killings” shocked the Houston area, the man convicted of both those 2012 slayings showed up at her home brandishing a gun and threatened to kill her brother.

    Alya Alidam testified in the punishment phase of the “honor killings” capital murder trial that her brother married a 18-year-old daughter of Jordanian immigrant Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, 60, who was convicted by a Harris County jury last week of two separate “honor killings” that took place 11 months apart in 2012. Alidam said Irsan came to her home in 1999 desperate to find his daughter, and threatened to kill the whole family because her brother had eloped with the young girl.

    Soon after that visit, Irsan fatally shot her brother, 29-year-old Amjad Alidam with a 12-gauge shotgun after invivting him to their home in east Montgomery County. Earlier, a neighbor recounted how Irsan told him he “got away with murder” by planting a gun on Alidam’s body, and then telling investigators his new son-in-law had been abusing his daughter and had threatened harm his family.

    But Alidam’s sister, along with three of the dead man’s friends, testified that Alidam was a friendly, peaceful man. The sister told the jury how before the killing that Irsan, who had also befriended her brother, became furious and frantic when he learned his daughter had left home to get married. Irsan urged Alidam to get into his car so she could help him find out where the couple had gone, she recalled.

    “He kidnapped my daughter. I will kill him,” she recalled Irsan saying. “I will kill you and will kill everyone if my daughter doesn’t come back to me.”

    “Ali threatened to kill you?” Anna Louise Emmons, one of the three pro tem prosecutors on the case asked. “Yes.”

    “Threatened to kill your family?” “Yes.”

    Alya Alidam testified that Irsan forced her to drive “like crazy” with him around Houston for an hour and wait in the car while he broke into her brother’s home and yanked out an answering machine. He then proceeded to call every number he recovered from caller ID.

    Two of the homicide victim’s friends told the jury that Irsan opposed the marriage despite both men being Muslims but of different denominations, as the family of Amjad Alidam is Shia while the Irsans are Sunni.

    The Montgomery County district attorney’s office declined to prosecute the fatal shooting.

    But the lead detective on the case testified that it had been her first time leading an investigation of a homicide, and many of the conditions were less than ideal. She noted she had to interview the victim’s new wife on the phone because the family had sent her to Jordan.

    Prosecutors contend that Irsan , whom they characterized as a “radical extremist Muslim,” should be given the death penalty for coordinating the 2012 fatal shootings of his daughter Nesreen’s 28-year-old husband, Coty Beavers, and Iranian activist and medical researcher Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30.
    Nasreen Irsan testified that she ran away from the family compound in Montgomery County, infuriating her father who began to stalk her with the help of other family members.

    RELATED: Jordanian patriarch facing death in Houston ‘honor killings’ praised 9/11 attacks

    Witnesses in the five-week trial have told jurors that Irsan orchestrated the slayings because he was outraged about Nasreen Irsan’s conversion to Christianity. A jury will decide if Irsan will receive the death penalty or life without parole.

    The jury found Irsan guilty last week of killing Beavers after sneaking into the couple’s unlocked northwest Harris County apartment in November 2012. They also convicted him for his role in the January 2012 slaying of Nesreen Irsan’s close friend, Bagherzadeh, outside her parents home in the Galleria area.

    Nesreen Irsan previously told the jury that Irsan had bragged about killing her older sister’s husband in the 1999 “honor killing,” and then covered his tracks to make it look like the shooting was in self defense.

    Irsan’s defense team is expected to put on mitigating evidence, including witnesses from Jordan who will talk about Irsan’s upbringing in the coming weeks.

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  4. #4
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Jordanian patriarch facing death in Houston ‘honor killings’ praised 9/11 attacks

    By Brian Rogers
    Published 6:26 pm CDT, Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    A Jordanian immigrant facing the death penalty in Houston praised Osama bin Laden for the terror attacks on New York City on September 11, 2001, and said the violence was deserved, his daughter testified Tuesday.
    Nesreen Irsan, 30, told jurors that her fervently Muslim father, 60-year-old Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, was living in Conroe when the infamous attacks occurred and was happy that Americans had died. He also told his 12 children they should become suicide bombers if asked.

    “He said it’s what America deserves,” the daughter said as she testified against the father who has been convicted of killing her husband and best in two “honor killings” in 2012.

    The shocking statements came during Nesreen Irsan’s second day of testimony in the punishment phase of her father’s capital murder trial. On Monday, she described how Irsan beat her and her siblings with a hose, a length of 2x4 board or his cane.

    The case made international headlines after Irsan was arrested in 2014 for the shooting deaths of Coty Beavers, 28, and Gelareh Bagherzadeh, a 30-year-old medical researcher at MD Anderson and a part-time Iranian activist.

    Irsan was convicted last week of coordinating the two “honor killings,” which took place 11 months apart, shooting deaths fueled by his anger against the young husband and a friend who had helped his adult daughter run away from home and convert to Christianity, prosecutors alleged.

    On Tuesday, Nesreen Irsan also said her father told his 12 children that they would have to be suicide bombers if they were ever asked.

    “He said it’s an honorable thing,” she told jurors. “You go straight to Heaven. It’s a God-like thing.”

    Nesreen Irsan did not feel the same way, she said, and wanted to quit Islam since she was about 12. When she was 23, she met Beavers at a Houston college and ran away from home to marry him and convert to Christianity in 2011.

    That led Irsan to stalk his daughter for more than a year and eventually kill Bagherzadeh, and then Beavers in 2012 to “wash his honor in blood,” prosecutors said.

    Nesreen also outlined myriad scams her father used to get money, including feigning disabilities, faking slip and falls claims at large retailers and even lying to cashiers about coupons.

    Irsan would use his forceful personality to force his children to fake mental illness in an effort to get government checks or cheat the Medicaid, social security and other government programs, his daughter told the jury.

    “He would make sure to get his way,” Nesreen Irsan said.

    She told jurors how her father once broke a circular saw, faked an injury and then negotiated a $70,000 settlement with the equipment manufacturer.

    Testimony also showed that he opened dozens of credit card accounts under different names, including his children’s names and the name of his dead brother.

    Irsan’s nephew, Ahmed Garcia, also testified about the scams and confirmed that Irsan regularly beat his children with hoses and sticks.

    Irsan’s wife, 40-year-old Shmou Alrawabdeh, took the witness stand for a second time Tuesday against her husband and corroborated Nesreen Irsan’s account that Irsan killed another of his daughter’s husband. The fatal shooting took place in her presence at their home in 1999, and her husband apparently escaped criminal charges by planting a gun on his son-in-law’s body and claiming self-defense.

    Alrawabdeh described how she was in the house at Irsan’s rural Montgomery County compound when 29-year-old Amjad Alidam came to visit and congratulate her on her newborn baby.

    After Alidam arrived, she went to prepare coffee and was in her bedroom when she saw her husband walk toward the living room with a 12-gauge shotgun. She heard a loud blast, then minutes later, two lesser gun shots.

    She said Irsan called her to the room

    “He didn’t have to say it,” Alrawabdeh testified. “I seen it.”

    She said her husband sipped his coffee, then walked over to the body and spit on him.

    When law officers arrived, Irsan claimed his son-in-law was abusing his daughter and had threatened him and his family with violence.

    It was the third slaying that Irsan’s wife testified about.

    Last week, Alrawabdeh took the stand and said she accompanied her husband and their oldest son as they stalked Nesreen for months after she ran away in 2011.

    She acknowledged that she was with them when Irsan killed Beavers in his northwest Harris County apartment. She said her son, Nasim Irsan, shot and killed Bagherzadeh outside the Galleria-area home of her parents.

    Alrawabdeh made a plea bargain deal with prosecutors to testify against Irsan in exchange for a guilty plea to aggravated kidnapping and a jail sentence capped at time served.

    The son, Nasim Irsan, 24, is in the Harris County jail on a charge of capital murder.

    State District Judge Jan Krocker is presiding over the capital murder trial, which is in it’s sixth week. um=social

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