Kingston Murder Trial: Father Caught On Wiretap Defending Honour
KINGSTON, Ont. - A Montreal man charged with killing his three daughters cursed them as "treacherous" for having boyfriends and said even if they came back to life 100 times he would "do the same again," court heard Monday.
"Even if, God forbid, they hoist us onto the gallows ... we accept it wholeheartedly," Mohammad Shafia is heard telling his wife and son on a police intercept one day before the three were arrested.
Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their son, Hamed, 20, have each pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder.
Three teenage Shafia sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, Shafia's other wife in a polygamous marriage, were found dead inside a car submerged in the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ont., on June 30, 2009.
Several intercepts, made from listening devices placed in the family's minivan, home and on Hamed's cellphone in the days leading up to their July 22, 2009, arrests, were played in court Monday. Shafia largely dominates the conversations, lamenting the fact that his daughters were dating, and ranting about family honour.
Court has heard that much of the family turmoil surrounded Zainab and her boyfriend, whom she married for one day, and relatives have testified that Shafia wanted to kill her. Yahya is heard on one intercept saying she knew Zainab was "already done," but she wishes the "two others" weren't.
"No Tooba, they were treacherous," Shafia says, likening them to prostitutes. "When I tell you to be patient, you tell me that it is hard. It isn't harder than watching them every hour with (boyfriends). For this reason whenever I see those pictures, I am consoled.
"I say to myself, 'You did well. Would they come back to life a hundred times, for you to do the same again,'" Shafia says on the intercepts, translated from their native Dari, a dialect from Afghanistan. "That is how hurt I am. Tooba, they betrayed us immensely. They violated us immensely. There can be no betrayal, no treachery, no violation more than this."
Shafia repeats his apparent threat about "a hundred times" on another intercept, saying, "If I have a cleaver in my hand, I will cut him/her in pieces."
"If we remain alive one night or one year, we have no tension in our hearts, (thinking that) our daughter is in the arms of this or that boy, in the arms of this or that man," Shafia says.
"May the devil...(defecate) on their graves. Is that what a daughter should be? Would (a daughter) be such a whore?"
The first half of one of the wiretaps was played for the jury last week, and Shafia and Yahya can be heard on it apparently placing themselves at the scene of the deaths, despite swearing to police they had not been there and had no idea what happened.
They are heard on an intercept from July 18, 2009, fretting about the possibility the police had found a camera at the scene, but ultimately concluding — correctly — that the police were lying. Court has heard police said this to generate exactly the kind of conversation that followed.
"That night there was no electricity there," Shafia says. "It was pitch darkness. You remember, Tooba?"
"Yes," she replies.
In the continuation of that intercept, played Monday, the family continues discussing the possibility of a camera, but they decide if there was one, police would have found it sooner.
"If they had had any proof they would have come (for us) a long time ago," Shafia says. "They wouldn't have left you, me or your mother alone."
Kingston police Sgt. Mike Boyles took the stand in the afternoon and testified about interrogating Hamed after the family was arrested. Another officer interviewed Shafia and Yahya in Farsi, which he said is closely related to Dari.
The jury viewed the first half of Hamed's interrogation, when an officer other than Boyles tries a more casual approach to questioning Hamed. When it became apparent it wasn't working, Boyles stepped in, he testified.
Court is expected to resume Tuesday morning with the continuation of that video.