72ºF

Ali Irsan found guilty of capital murder in 'honor killing' trial

Ali Irsan found guilty of capital murder in 'honor killing' trial

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Justice came in the form of a guilty verdict for 60-year-old Ali Irsan, who was convicted Thursday of capital murder for the 2012 killings of his son-in-law Coty Beavers and Gelareh Bagherzadeh.

Bagherzadeh was a friend of Irsan's daughter, Nesreen.

The verdict produced mixed, but strong, emotions for family and friends of the two victims.

"We're sad and excited. It's been hard, for all of us," said Kathy Soltani, a friend of the Bagherzadeh family, through tears. "But it's a good day and we look forward to the rest of the process."

Irsan took the stand in his own defense for nearly five hours Wednesday. In closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors painted Irsan as a radical who needed to be stopped. Irsan's defense attorneys pointed the finger at his wife, who has a plea deal, and even his daughter, whose husband and dear friend were killed.

In the end, the jury didn't buy the theory because, after about 30 minutes of deliberation, they found Irsan guilty around 5 p.m.

"The jury deliberating for under 30 minutes just shows how strongly these two murders were connected," said Coty Beavers' brother, Michael.

Irsan killed his victims because his daughter was influenced by one Christian -- Bagherzadeh -- and married another -- Beavers. An effort to reclaim his honor has led to nothing but pain, death and a guilty verdict for capital murder.

"Two wonderful lives cut too short. Senseless," said Soltani outside the federal courthouse. "It's just a hard day, even though it's a happy day."

The penalty phase is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. and attorneys on both sides said it could last as long as four weeks or more, as several family members and friends of Irsan are expected to be flown in to testify on his behalf.

Irsan is facing a possible death penalty.


About the Author: