HOUSTON -- Special prosecutors are accusing a woman of conspiring with relatives in the so-called honor killings of her estranged sister’s American husband and her sister’s friend who was an Iranian women’s rights activist.
Nadia Irsan, 35, was charged on Wednesday with conspiring with her father, stepmother and brother in a plan that led to the 2012 fatal shootings in the Houston area, the Houston Chronicle reported.
It is not the first charge against Irsan related to the killings of Nesreen Irsan’s 28-year-old husband, Coty Beavers, and her friend Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30. She was charged in 2015 with stalking related to the case.
Irsan’s public defender, Eric J. Davis, said he is contesting the case.
“My hope is that people will presume her innocent,” Davis said.
Marie Primm, a pro tem prosecutor, said further evaluation of the evidence prompted the new charge.
Irsan’s father Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, a Jordanian immigrant and conservative Muslim, was sentenced to death in 2018 for the two killings that occurred about 11 months apart.
Bagherzadeh was targeted first, in January 2012. Police said Irsan, his wife and their son, Nasim Isran, followed Bagherzadeh to her parents’ Galleria-area home, and that the son shot her in her automobile. He is awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.
That November, Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan slipped into Beavers’ unlocked apartment near Houston, waited for his daughter to leave for work, then shot his son-in-law, according to the elder Irsan’s wife, Shmou Ali Alrawabdeh.
Nadia Irsan is one of two people with open cases linked to the killings.
Her brother, Nasim Irsan, in August accepted a plea deal of 40 years in prison for fatally shooting Bagherzadeh. Prosecutors have said Ali Irsan and his wife persuaded him to kill the woman.
Alrawabdeh, who was also charged with murder, testified against her husband last year in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser kidnapping charge. She testified that her husband also intended to kill their daughter, Beavers’ twin brother and Beavers’ mother.
But her case is still open, and Primm noted that the deal would not be done until Alrawabdeh testified against all relevant parties.
If Nadia Irsan is convicted in the latest conspiracy charge, she could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Primm offered Irsan a plea deal of 25 years, while promising to drop the existing stalking charge.
However, Irsan did not take the deal on Wednesday. Her case has been reset for December.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com