Two execution-style murders with one common thread; 57 yr old Ali Irsan, a Jordanian national who was living in Montgomery County. The first victim, Gelareh Bagherzadeh, was a 30-year-old graduate student and researcher at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Bagherzadeh was shot and killed in her car outside her parents apartment when she arrived home on the night of January 15th, 2012. Four shots fired through the passenger window, one striking her in the head and killing her instantly. Robbery was ruled out as a motive due to her purse, wallet and cell phone left laying on the front seat. Bagherzadeh was a known activist for women’s rights in Iran. According to HPD Detective Sgt. J.C. Padilla, there was a theory about the possibility of an assassination by Iranian intelligence. A $200,000 reward in the case was offered by Crime Stoppers of Houston. However, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson is prosecuting Ali Irsan for the murder of Gelareh Bagherzadeh and suspect his involvement in another that have been identified as alleged honor killings.
Despite the intrigue generated by the theory of Iranian assassination squads, this story has all of the makings of a made for TV movie. Domineering father, rebellious daughter, religion, politics and of course the daughters new husband. “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,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. The daughter, Nesreen Irsan left home to get away from her father, converted to Christianity and then married a Christian man by the name of Coty Beavers. Coty has a twin brother, Cory, who is the boyfriend of the first murder victim, Gelareh Bagherzadeh. The father, Ali Irsan, believed that Gelareh Bagherzadeh had helped convert his daughter Nesreen to Christianity. Unable to find his daughter, Ali Irsan reportedly harassed Gelareh to tell him where his daughter was, but she refused. Unable to find his daughter, it is alleged that Ali Irsan killed Gelareh Bagherzadeh for her role in his daughter’s religious conversion as a means of restoring his “honor.”
The second murder was the killing of Coty Beavers, the son-in-law of Ali Irsan who married his “rebellious” daughter. Coty Beavers was murder on November 12, 2012 apparently in his apartment in northwest Houston where he lived with his wife, Nesreen. Coty was shot multiple times with a handgun. He was last seen early that morning as he walked his wife to her car about 5:45 a.m. His body was not discovered until 4:30 p.m. on the 12th. Both murders, Gelareh and Coty, were carried out in a professional manner and law enforcement had little physical evidence to work. At a news conference on Thursday, District Attorney Anderson said “It has taken a long time, but I assure you we have never forgotten about your loved ones. We can’t bring them back, but our goal to get justice for them will continue. The cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies investigating this complicated case has been and will remain remarkable.”
In addition to Ali Irsan being charged with capital murder in these “honor killings,” his wife Ashmou Alrawabdeh, and his son Nasim Irsan, are also charged with murder. His daughter, Nadia Irsan, is charged with stalking in the murder of Beavers. They are all currently behind bars for Social Security Fraud awaiting sentencing. Ali Isran will soon face sentencing in the Social Security fraud case, which will mean Federal prison time. Harris County will most likely try Isran for murder in either the Beavers case or the Bagherzadeh case, whichever has the strongest evidence and best chance for a conviction. Ali Irsan is also suspected in another killing, of another son-in-law Amjad Alidam, that was originally ruled self-defense, but has now been reopened. No charges have been filed in that case.