Kingston, Ontario. The jury took less than 48 hours to bring in a First Degree Murder guilty decision in the Shafia trial. The three remaining members of the family all pleaded not guilty to pre-meditated murder of their family members. Mohammad Shafia 58, his second wife Tooba Yahya 42, and son Hamed 21 now await the sentencing which will decide their coming years. While Canada does not have a death penalty, those found guilty may face 25 years in prison without the hope of parole.
The Shafias were found guilty of plotting and killing Rona Amir, Mohammad’s first wife and the three daughters of Tooba because they had brought ‘dishonour’ to the former Afghan family by gradually becoming Canadianized and more independent. The judge, after receiving the verdict gave his stinging opinion about the crime.
“It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable and more honourless crime,” Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger said Sunday after the jury foreman had read aloud the verdicts. National Post
Canadians were shocked to find that a car holding four women was pulled out of the Rideau Canal near Kingston Mills, June 2009. The circumstances were suspicious. They were not reported missing until the car was identified. While the family was wealthy and had two cars already, the death car had been recently purchased for $5 000 cash.
When the family members were interviewed, suspicion grew. Solid police work and the help of a bug in the Shafia’s car gathered more evidence. Conversation recorded showed that the father of the murdered girls was not grieving:
. “God’s curse on them – may the devil shit on their graves,” Shafia is recorded as saying. Canada.com
The Shafia family came to Canada under regulations that allow those who are wealthy to fast track their immigration status. Mohammad and Tooba came via Dubai from Afghanistan, later bringing first wife Rona whom Mohammad listed as a domestic servant.
While there was no doubt about who murdered the hapless women, there was some doubt about when and how they were drowned. A clue may be in the autopsy findings where the young girl Geeti, aged 13 was the only one without evidence of a blow to the head.