A judge sentenced a Jordanian national to death for carrying out two “honor killings” in 2012 as part of a plot to allegedly kill his daughter and four others.
The judge handed down the death sentence to Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, 60, after the jury delivered its verdict based on seven weeks of testimony, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Jurors convicted Irsan of capital murder after hearing about his wish to “wash his honor in blood” for killing his daughter’s husband, Coty Beavers, 28, and Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30, who was his daughter’s best friend.
“Don’t second guess yourselves,” state District Judge Jan Krocker told jurors. “You listened attentively to every detail. It was the right verdict.”
Prosecutors say Irsan carried out the killings to get back at his daughter for leaving home, becoming a Christian, and later marrying one.
“He wanted to kill her,” prosecutor Jon Stephenson told jurors during his opening statements. “But he wanted to kill all those she loved first, so that she would suffer that much more before she died.”
One of Irsan’s daughters took the stand throughout the trial, testifying that 60-year-old Jordanian national praised Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks on American soil. She added that he told his children to volunteer as suicide bombers.
Irsan’s defense attorneys said they were disappointed in the judge’s ruling and intend to appeal the death sentence.
“We will just leave it in God’s hands,” said Irsan’s lead attorney.
Honor killings have a history dating back to ancient Rome and are still carried out in the Middle East, but they also take place on American soil.
A 2015 Department of Justice (DOJ) study found “that between 23 and 27 honor killings occur annually in the United States,” adding that over 90 percent North Americans victimized by honor killings were killed for being “too westernized.”
Most honor killers are often motivated by radical interpretations of Islam, according to the authors of the study.
U.S.-based honor killings are often the result of Muslim males murdering a female family member for allegedly dishonoring the family and Islam. But a 2015 study titled “When Women Commit Honor Killings,” revealed that women carry out honor killings against victims who they believe are too “Western” and “disobedient.”
Part of President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting refugees from six countries linked to terrorism mandated the government to release information to the public about foreign nationals committing honor killings.