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Jurors deliberating fate of man who murdered daughter's husband, best friend in honor killing

HOUSTON – Prosecutors in court Monday urged jurors to send Ali Irsan to death row, calling him a violent, radical Muslim extremist who stalked and murdered two people he blamed for his daughter’s abandonment of his religion.  

Irsan was convicted of murdering his daughter’s husband, Coty Beavers, and her best friend, Gelareh Bacherzadeh, because they’d encouraged her to leave Irsan’s home and religion to marry Beavers -- a Christian, prosecutors said.

Irsan’s wife, who is also charged in the killings, testified that her husband planned to kill three others -- Beavers' mother, twin brother and his daughter, Nesreem -- before his arrest.

Jurors deliberated for about five hours before they were sent home. Deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

A neighbor testified during the trial and said Irsan bragged of killing another son-in-law in 1999. 

Prosecutors said even in prison, Irsan would still be a threat to them as well as to prisoners and prison staff. Prosecutor Marie Primm told jurors Irsan has no remorse.

“He believes everything he has done, he was justified,” Prim said. 

Defense attorney Alan Tanner argued there’s no need to sentence Irsan to death because a life sentence would lock him away and he’d be kept isolated from the general prison population. 

Tanner said Irsan’s two wives and daughters lied when they testified that Irsan often beat them, and in the case of his first wife, raped her as a  teenager. Tanner admitted Irsan was unstable from an early age. He said Irsan cracked under stress and went berserk when his daughter ran away to marry Beavers.

Tanner told jurors that giving Irsan the death penalty would be an attack on human dignity and might even prompt attacks on Americans in the Middle East. 

He urged them to choose life in prison, pointing out that even if Irsan were given the death penalty, at age 61, he would likely remain on death row during appeals for a decade or more. 

“I just don’t see any good in killing the guy when he’s 80 to 90 years old,” Tanner said. “What does that make us look like in America?”