HOUSTON (AP) — Jury selection has started in Houston in the capital murder trial of a Jordanian-born man accused in two slayings driven by his daughter’s decision to marry a Christian.
Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan faces a possible death sentence if convicted of the 2012 shooting death of a 30-year-old Iranian women’s rights activist, Gelareh Bagherzadeh. She was best friend of Irsan’s daughter, Nesreen, and encouraged her to marry Coty Beavers, a Christian.
The 28-year-old Beavers was killed 11 months later. Irsan, a conservative Muslim, also is accused of involvement in his death.
Potential juror questioning is expected to take weeks. The Houston Chronicle reports opening arguments are scheduled for June 25.
Authorities have said both slayings were motivated by the 60-year-old Irsan’s ire over his daughter’s conversion to Christianity and marrying Beavers.