Nesreen Irsan lost both her husband and best friend at the hands of her father Ali Irsan in a horrific sequence of events that Texas authorities called religious “honor killings.”
After the killings occurred, she was a key witness in court against her father, Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, a Jordanian immigrant. He was convicted of killing her husband Coty Beavers and friend Gelareh Bagherzadeh, described by the Houston Chronicle as “a 30-year-old medical researcher and Iranian activist who championed women’s rights.”
The killings will be featured on NBC’s Dateline show on November 1, 2019.
Nasim Irsan, Nesreen’s brother, was convicted in connection with Bagherzadeh’s death, according to Click2Houston. The television station reported that Bagherzadeh helped Nesreen leave the Muslim religion and introduced her to Beavers. Nasim was accused of shooting Bagherzadeh in the head in a parking lot with Ali Irsan present. A sister was also charged in connection with the case, and authorities alleged that Ali Irsan also planned to kill Nesreen and others but didn’t pull that off before his arrest.
According to NBC News, Ali was also accused of sneaking into the apartment his daughter shared with Beavers and the shooting the man to death.
Nesreen’s sister was charged with stalking in the case. You can read appeals court documents in that case here. “As a result of that investigation, the State ultimately obtained four indictments: a capital murder indictment against Ali Irsan, appellant’s father; murder indictments against Shmou Al-Rawabdeh Irsan and Nasim Irsan, appellant’s step-mother and half-brother, respectively; and a stalking indictment against appellant,” the records say (appellant refers to Nesreen’s sister). They add that Ali was also suspected of murdering the husband of Nesreen’s older sister in 1999 (he’s accused of planting a weapon on that man after shooting him with a shotgun and then claiming self-defense.)
“Nesreen Irsan would not succumb to her father’s complete domination and rule of her. And she left his home without his permission and went into hiding,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, according to Women of Grace. “These two murders are linked by the belief on the defendant’s part that his honor as a father and a Muslim has been violated by his daughter, who defied his rule and married a Christian man.”
Here’s what you need to know about the lives of Nesreen Irsan and Ali Irsan now:
Today, Nesreen Irsan Still Lives at an Undisclosed Location Due to Fears for Her Safety; Ali Isran Is Sitting on Death Row in Texas
Today, Ali Irsan is sitting on death row in Texas. Here’s his inmate information from the Texas Department of Corrections. He’s in the Polunsky Unit.
Jurors sentenced him to death.
As for Nesreen, her father’s death row sentence was freeing to her in a sense.
In 2018, the Houston Chronicle reported that Nesreen Irsan “finally had a night without nightmares.” Then 30, she was able to get some sleep because her father had finally received the ultimate punishment: A trip to death row.
The newspaper reported that she had suffered from nightmares about being “hunted by her father and other family members” after fleeing the family’s home and becoming a Christian in 2011 (the murders occurred in 2012).
“I grew up with this murderer and he boasted about it. I was terrified of him,” she told the Chronicle, which did not disclose her location. “You don’t have anywhere to run. You’re a prisoner. You’re a prisoner in your own life.”
The Chronicle did not reveal her location because she is still afraid of other family members. She did reconnect with a sister and mother, the article reported.
Her brother wasn’t sentenced until August 2019. He received 40 years in prison.
The victim Beavers’ twin brother’s account is detailed in the court record. “In June 2011, Nesreen appeared at the Beavers’ house with ‘nothing but the clothes she was wearing,’ having run away from her father’s house. Shirley McCormick, the twins’ mother, allowed Nesreen to stay at their house,” the court document states.
“The following weekend, the Beavers family members began receiving calls from appellant (Nesreen’s sister), and they could ‘constantly’ see cars driving slowly past their house, parking nearby for hours, and then driving away. At one point, Ali Irsan passed out flyers to the Beavers’ neighbors with a picture of Coty, a request for information about him, and an offer of a reward. All of the Beavers family members began having trouble with their vehicles, including flat tires and other mechanical problems.”
In 2012, Nesreen shared a photo showing her with Coty Beavers and wrote, “This was not only my first Christmas, but the first time I have ever spent a holiday with a family that loved me unconditionally. Coty made sure it was an amazing Christmas with all the gifts, but to tell the truth he was the best gift of all. I will never forget the cute smiles he gave every time I got to do something so simple as decorating a Christmas tree for the first time or looking at the stars for the first time. I was obsessed with this man even counting the freckles on his arms or pushing in his button nose made me so happy. This picture, like so many others, makes my heart yearn to hold him and hear his voice again. You will always remain in my heart Coty. I love you so much baby, can’t wait to see you again in heaven.”
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