HOUSTON – Ali Irsan was sentenced to death Tuesday for two honor killings that happened six years ago.
The jury took about nine hours spread across two days to reach the decision.
"We're very disappointed by the verdict and the sentencing ... the case will go on appeal now and we'll see what happens," defense attorney Allen Tanner said.
Irsan was convicted last month of capital murder in the 2012 killings of his son-in-law, Coty Beavers, and Gelareh Bagherzadeh, his daughter’s best friend.
Irsan’s wife, who is also charged in the killings, had testified that her husband planned to kill three others -- Beavers' mother, twin brother and his daughter, Nesreem -- before his arrest.
Shirley Beavers, Coty Beavers' mother, said that in America, everyone is free to choose their own path in life.
"In America, everyone is free, including the women. They can choose their own careers, spouses and they have a right not to be treated as property of their fathers, their husbands, their brothers," Shirley Beavers said. "I think that we feel safer now knowing he’s on death row and won’t have as much access to cause further harm and damage to our families or anyone else he did not like."
After the sentencing, Bagherzadeh's family said they felt their daughter was in the courtroom during the verdict.
"I think she's happy today. She wanted today," Bagherzadeh's father, Dr. Ebrahim said.
Cathy Sottani, a family friend of Bagherzadeh's parents, said they were pleased with the verdict too.
"At the end of the day, this moment is what we all were waiting for. Democracy at its best. And we are very appreciative for the judicial system in this country," Sottani said. "We couldn’t be happier."
Irsan was allegedly aided in the killings by his wife, who testified against him as part of a plea deal, and one of his sons. Both are still awaiting trial.
“We continue to pray those who were culpable in helping commit these murders that they are also held accountable and they are judged as well,” said Cory Beavers, brother of Coty Beavers.
Irsan, 61 years old, will be transferred to death row and his sentence automatically goes on appeal. Tanner said they could a take a decade or more to complete.