The woman at the center of two “honor killings” in 2012 testified Monday that her father, who is facing the death penalty, told her that he killed her older sister’s husband and later tried to drown the sister in a hotel bathtub. Her father told her he did not go through with the homicide because “the Angel of Death” appeared from her sister’s body and told him it was not time for her to die.
Nesreen Irsan, 30, testified that her Jordanian-born father, 60-year-old Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, bragged about killing her older sister’s husband in a different 1999 “honor killing” than two others he was convicted of last week.
“He said that Nesemah and (her husband) dishonored him and that’s what’s going to happen to any of his daughters who do the same thing,” said Nesreen Irsan, recalling a chilling warning in the aftermath of the 1999 fatal shooting.
Nesreen Irsan is the daughter whose flight from the family compound in Montgomery County, conversion to Christianity and marriage to a Christian man in 2012 so enraged her father, a fervent Muslim, that he killed her husband and her best friend who supported her.
Testifying In a blue dress and white sweater that were much different from the hijab she said her father made her wear, Nesreen Irsan spent for most of the afternoon in the second day of the punishment phase of the trial describing a violent home life. In this stage prosecutors call witnesses to testify about past crimes they say were committed by Irsan in order for the jury to determine whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Nesreen Irsan testified that her father disapproved of her older sister’s marriage in 1999 so he killed her husband and made it look like self-defense. After the homicide, her father took her sister to Jordan, drugged her in a hotel room and tried to drown her, she told the jury.
“He said he was trying to drown her in the bathtub, but the Angel of Death came out of her and told him that it wasn’t her time to die,” she testified. That sister, Nesemah, survived and is now 36 years old.
The most inflammatory witness, however, was Nesreen Irsan who said her father beat his 12 children with garden hoses, electrical cords and boards.
“He beat me. He slapped me around and called me names,” she testified. “He would punch me, kick me, hit me with sticks.”
The “sticks” were either his cane or a four-foot long 2×4 board that he threw at her head, she said.
Nesreen Irsan was not present when her sister’s husband was killed, but said she remembered the bloodstain in the house where the body had fallen.
Other abuses she said her father put the children through included beating their palms and soles of their feet or tying up his disabled daughter and rubbing jalapeño paste into her eyes while beating her.
Prosecutors are expected to call more witnesses later this week to detail the 1999 slaying that they started hearing about last week.
A neighbor testified Friday that Irsan seemed to be trying to impress him by admitting he invited his son-in-law into his trailer home on the family’s rural Conroe compound, blasted him with a shotgun then planted a gun on him to make it look like self-defense.
Law enforcement investigators and crime scene investigators from Montgomery County are expected to testify about the homicide, and how Irsan may have been able to fool them by manipulating evidence and intimidating witnesses.
A forensic accountant began Monday’s session with testimony about Irsan traveling with large amounts of cash and “probable credit card fraud,” indicated by his opening at least 86 credit card accounts under different spellings of his name or using the names of some of his 12 children.
Several officials also testified about Irsan’s finances and “bad acts” while awaiting trial in jail.
Grant Dickey, an assistant warden the federal correction center in Conroe, testified that Isan was caught with a shank fashioned out of a stick and razor blade.
Dickey also said two of Irsan’s adult sons were also arrested for smuggling prescription pain patches in a hollowed-out candy bar into the lockup for Irsan.
Jurors heard about the June 14, 2014 arrest of Naseem Irsan and Nile Irsan. Nile Irsan testified in support of his father earlier in the trial.
Naseem is in the Harris County Jail facing capital murder charges for his part in the plan to avenge the family’s honor after his sister, Nesreen, converted to Christianity and married Beavers, who was Christian.