An Afghan Refugee Is On Trial For The Murders Of Three Muslim Men

( — Opening statements in the first of three murder trials of an Afghan refugee accused of murdering three men in ambush-style shootings began in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Muhammad Syed was arrested in August 2022 in connection with the fatal shootings of four Muslim men over a period of nine months. A grand jury eventually indicted Syed on three counts of first-degree murder and four counts of tampering with evidence in the murders of three of the men, Aftab Hussein, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, and Naeen Hussain.

The three cases will be tried separately, starting with Syed’s trial for the murder of Aftab Hussein, which began on Monday, March 11, with jury selection.

Albuquerque Police also consider Syed a suspect in the November 2021 murder of Muhammad Ahmadi, however, he has not been charged in that killing.

Syed, 53, who, along with his family, settled in the United States as a refugee several years ago, pleaded not guilty to all three murders.

In his opening statement on Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney David Waymire showed the jury the rifle found in a search of Syed’s home.

According to prosecutors, Hussein was shot multiple times as he got out of his car at his apartment complex. Cell phone data confirmed that Syed was in the area when Hussein was shot. Twelve minutes before the shooting, Syed saved a note on his phone that referred to killing Hussein.

Waymire described Hussein’s murder as a “willful” and “deliberate” shooting.

Syed’s attorney, Thomas Clark, said in his opening statement that there was no evidence that Syed was the one who fired the shots, killing Hussein. He noted that Syed was not the only person in his home who had access to the rifle, his cell phone, or his car.

Clark also noted that no DNA or fingerprints were found linking Syed to the killing.

Responding officers and detectives testified on Tuesday about finding Hussein dead from multiple gunshot wounds lying next to his vehicle.

Prosecutors said one of the bullets recovered from Hussein’s body, along with the casings at the scene, matched Syed’s rifle.

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