Nesreen Irsan told federal authorities she was a prisoner in her Montgomery County home, under the strict control of her devout Muslim father, Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan. In June 2011, while Irsan was away visiting his native Jordan, Nesreen's mother and sister discovered voicemails, emails and text messages between Nesreen and her soon-to-be husband Coty Beavers, a Christian.
|Officials have charged Ali Irsan and three family members in the death of Gelareh Bagherzadeh and Coty Beavers|
Nesreen knew her father would punished her when he returned, so one day she escaped out a bathroom window, according to testimony federal officials gave in court last year. The next month, Nesreen and Beavers married. Soon afterward, the couple got a protective order against Irsan.
What followed was a relentless campaign by Irsan -- aided by his wife, 21-year-old son, and another daughter, authorities say -- to track down his daughter and reclaim his family's honor. Irsan not only blamed Beavers for his daughter's escape, according to authorities, but he also targeted one of Nesreen's best friends, Gelareh Bagherzadeh, a 30-year-old Iranian-American activist and Christian convert who berated Irsan for thinking he could control his daughter.
On Wednesday, more than three years after Bagherzadeh was gunned down as she pulled into her parents' Galleria-area townhome complex, authorities charged Irsan, his wife, and his 21-year-old son Nasim in the killing. Authorities say Irsan, who has been charged with capital murder, also killed Beavers, his daughter's 28-year-old husband, just 11 months after Bagherzadeh's slaying.
Flanked by FBI and Homeland Security officials in a press conference on Wednesday, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said the killings are unlike anything she's ever seen. "The family involvement, the lengths that were gone to to commit these murders, the premeditation. ... The efforts are unprecedented." More »