HPD: Teen who allegedly hired classmate to kill his mother had 2nd target -- his sister

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by Jeff McShan / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 14, 2010 at 11:46 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 15 at 12:18 PM

HOUSTON – Kashmaila Khan is experiencing unimaginable pain.

First, she lost her mother to a brutal murder. Then, her brother was charged with the crime.

"I burst into tears, because of the situation that I lost my mom and now they’re suspecting my brother," Khan said.

On November 25, Khan’s mother, Tabassum Khan, was found stabbed to death inside her southwest Houston apartment.

Less than two weeks later, HPD determined it was Tabassum Khan’s own son, 17-year-old Danish Minhas , who wanted her dead.

Police said Minhas told them his mom was too controlling and strict.

"And these were not very unusual restrictions. It’s a curfew. It’s to be home at night, to stay off the freeways," Sgt. Brian Harris said. 

At a press conference on January 6, HPD announced that Minhas had hired a classmate at Robert Lee High School to kill his mother.

Minhas and the classmate, 18-year-old Nur Mohamed, now face capital murder charges.

"Both men are very charming," Harris said. 

The murder-for-hire plot made headlines around the globe, and with the latest developments, the story is likely to get even more attention. 

According to Kashmaila Khan, detectives said her brother wanted all the family’s money and was planning to kill her next.

Khan said she learned from police that her brother wanted to move to California to become an actor. He even wrote it on his MySpace page.

Still, Khan doesn’t believe it and stands by her brother. She visits him every day in jail and doesn’t believe he wanted anyone—including her—dead.

"There is not a single gesture that would show Danish was planning to do something," said Khan. 

HPD wouldn’t comment on Khan’s story, but they did say Minhas is dangerous and continues, even behind bars, to manipulate his family.

Minhas, his mother and sister moved to America 11 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan. His father stayed behind.

As soon as Minhas arrived in the U.S., he became fascinated with law enforcement and Hollywood.

At Lee High school, he wanted to join the drama department, but his mother and sister convinced him he would have a better chance at financial success if he entered the school’s law enforcement program. He did.

Ironically, Minhas visited the Texas death chamber in Huntsville this past October on a class field trip and asked administrators if he could lie down on the bed.

He had even applied for an internship at HPD headquarters in downtown Houston before he became a suspect in his mother’s death.

At school, several students said they looked up to Minhas. He was the class president, on the honor roll and made school announcements over the public address system.

Saraahab Abdulahadi said she knew him well.

"You know the first time they said that he did that I didn’t believe it. I was like, ‘oh no,’" Abdulahadi said.

Carlos Garcia, a friend of Mohamed’s, said he can’t believe it either.

"[Mohamed] was a good guy, a good friend to me. We were always chillin’, rappin’ and stuff, you know," Garcia said.

While investigating Tabassum Khan’s murder, 11 News learned that there are many immigrant teenagers—especially refugees—who are dealing with strict parents who are not familiar with American culture. There can often be a clash.

Houston’s Pakistani community strongly feels that conflict doesn’t exist anymore, at least not in their culture. They don’t believe Minhas’ mother was too strict.

"I don’t buy this. The people in the community don’t buy this. That she was so strict that he has to hire somebody to kill her," said Saeed Gaddi of the Pakistani American Society of Texas. 

"It’s how you get along with your parents, and they have to get along with you as well," said A.J. Gaddi, an announcer at KBRZ-AM 1460. 

Kashmaila Khan said she and her brother had a great relationship with their mom, who worked in the Texas Medical Center. 

Khan said her mother gave them everything they wanted, as long as they had an 80 average in school.

Minhas drove a loaded Toyota Camry, wore nice clothes and went to Starbucks every day.

So, what happened?

Kashmaila Khan believes her brother is being framed.

"I am insecure. I know that there are people out there that if they can frame my brother, they can do anything to us," Khan said.

Whatever led to the murder, Khan feels her mother would still be alive if the students who claim they heard about the alleged plot prior to the slaying had spoken up.

"I’m speechless because if they knew, how come they didn’t come forward," Khan said.

She said she wants to sue them.

Minhas’ next court date is February 18.

Until then, his sister said he’ll be spending his time alone in a small, isolated jail cell.

"It’s rough," she said.

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