Q&A: What Dateline NBC storyteller discovers in a 6-episode podcast about a well-known Houston murder case

Dateline's 'Motive For Murder' focuses on a 2012 murder case in Houston with an unknown motive. (Courtesy of NBC)

HOUSTON – Dateline NBC correspondent Josh Mankiewicz is diving deep into the twisted timeline of a 2012 Houston murder case of two young friends gunned down 10 months apart in an honor killing. The story will be revealed in a six-episode podcast.

“Motive for Murder” takes listeners through both crimes and the investigation of the murders of Gelareh Bagherzadeh and Coty Beavers, a story that slowly progressed and ended with a surprise ending, Mankiewicz said.

You can listen to episodes 1-5 of “Motive for Murder” in podcast platforms everywhere. Episode 6 will premiere June 4.

Hear a preview by clicking here.

Q&A with Dateline NBC’s correspondent Josh Mankiewicz

Give our audience an overview of the stories they’ll learn about in the ‘Motive for Murder’ podcast?

"We focus on two murders that happened in the Houston area in 2012, cases that are probably well-known to some in your audience. The victims were Gelareh Bagherzadeh and then 10 months later, Coty Beavers. He was the identical twin brother of Gelareh’s boyfriend.

The problem for investigators was that these murders seemed almost certainly connected, but what was the connection? What was the motive? Investigators soon realized that the theories that explained the first murder didn’t fit the second."

What got you interested in this story?

"It didn’t fit the traditional Dateline template. It’s not the husband, the wife, the romantic rival, and it wasn’t done for the insurance money.

Also, we couldn’t have done either the Dateline episode or the podcast without KPRC. They led the local coverage on this and beat the competition. Investigative reporter Joel Eisenbaum broke major news and Ryan Korsgard reported on the trial. Having KPRC as a partner on this story made a huge difference."

What made this story so good for a podcast?

“Even at two hours on Dateline, there’s a lot of details we simply don’t have time to put in. A podcast allows you to do that while still maintaining the suspense and storytelling our audience has come to expect.”

Is there anything that you think those who listen to the podcast might be surprised to learn?

“The story of how the investigation progressed — first slowly, then quickly — is engrossing. So is the interview with the person who was eventually convicted and locked up.”

Can you tell us about what people can expect to find in the different episodes?

“We take you through both crimes and the tick-tock of the investigation. Listeners will also hear the story of Nesreen Irsan, the woman who was in many ways at the center of all this.”

What has the reaction been to the podcasts so far?

“We announced it on a Thursday and by that Sunday it was the No. 1 podcast in America.”

Can you tell us about what other crime-focused podcasts Dateline has tackled?

“We have one called 13 ALIBIS, about a man convicted of murder despite — yes — 13 alibi witnesses. And Keith Morrison’s THE THING ABOUT PAM is wonderful; the ongoing story of two murders and possibly more.”

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