HOUSTON -- The Jordanian immigrant charged in a federal fraud case and indicted in Harris County for the 2012 murder of an Iranian medical researcher and activist was ordered held without bail Thursday pending trial in federal court.
Ali Mahmood-Awad Irsan, 56, his wife Shmou Ali Alrawabdeh, 37, and Irsan’s daughter Nadia Irsan, 30, were arrested last week when federal agents raided their three properties near Conroe in East Montgomery County. All three remain in federal custody. Ali Irsan was denied bond Thursday. A detention/bond hearing for his wife will resume Monday. Nadia Irsan has not yet hired an attorney so her detention hearing is still on hold. Irsan and his wife were given court-appointed counsel. Six of the family’s eight children remain in the custody of Child Protective Services.
In asking for Ali Irsan to be held without bond, federal prosecutors cited the alleged extent of the fraud allegations and Irsan’s connection to three different violent deaths.
Irsan was also charged last week with the murder of Gelareh Bagherzadeh. She was a close friend of Irsan’s daughter Nesreen. Bagherzadeh was shot and killed January of 2012. Prosecutors have not detailed an exact motive. But friends of the victim have suggested Irsan and the Iranian medical researcher and anti-Iranian government activist had argued in the past and the he did not like the converted Christian’s influence on his daughter.
The night of the murder witnesses saw a silver car leaving the scene. Prosecutors revealed in court Thursday that Irsan and his wife were pulled over in a traffic stop that same night just 44 minutes after the murder. They were driving a silver sedan. The car was not searched that night as the trooper involved in the stop was not aware of a potential connection to the murder. During the course of their murder investigation, Houston Police homicide detectives drove the same distance from the murder scene to where Irsan’s traffic stop took place. The drive took the detectives approximately 44 minutes.
Irsan has not been charged with the murder of his son-in-law Coty Beavers. But federal prosecutors Thursday alluded to the active investigation. Beavers was killed 10-months after Bagherzadah. He was married to Irsan’s daughter Nesreen. She had fled her father’s Conroe home and had received a restraining order against him. Prosecutors revealed that in the search last week of Irsan’s Conroe-area properties, that they found a homemade flyer with Coty Beavers photo. Irsan reportedly handed out the flyers in the days before the murder offering $100 to anyone who could tell him where his daughter and son-in-law were hiding.
In asking for Irsan to be held without bond prosecutors also mentioned the 1999 shooting at Irsan’s Irwin Keel address in Conroe. Irsan shot and killed his son-in-law Amjad Alidam but claimed self defense and was never charged with a crime.
Prosecutors also revealed, in connection to the social security fraud and credit card charges against Irsan, that they found more than 200 credit cards with various names and multiple variations of his own name throughout the Irwin Keel home. Arresting officers say they also found more than 40 similar credit cards in his wallet the morning he was arrested.
His daughter also alleges, among multiple other schemes detailed in court documents, that Ali Irsan purposely disabled the safety device on a Ryobi rotary saw and purposely cut his own foot. Prosecutors say he used that injury to receive a $75,000 settlement from the manufacturer.
Irsan remains in federal custody. He has not yet been arraigned in a Harris County courtroom for the indictment on the 2012 murder.