DALLAS (AP) — A North Texas father convicted of capital murder for drowning two of his sons acted out of fear that the boys would grow up to be like him, the man's lawyer said Wednesday as the trial entered its penalty phase.
Defense attorney Paul Johnson urged jurors to spare Naim Rasool Muhammad's life and not give him the death penalty, the punishment that prosecutors are seeking. Prosecutors told the jury about the 34-year-old Muhammad's history of domestic violence.
Jurors took less than 10 minutes Wednesday to find Muhammad guilty of killing 5-year-old Naim and 3-year-old Elijah in August 2011. They can sentence him to death or life imprisonment without parole.
He confessed to police that he took his children to a Dallas-area creek and told them to pretend they were swimming before he held their faces under water. He told a detective he drowned the boys because he was mad at the children's mother, Kametra Sampson, for breaking up with him.
Prosecutors said Muhammad earlier on the day of Aug. 22, 2011, forced Sampson and the boys into his car. Sampson was able to escape the car and alert a constable. But rather than give chase, the constable opted to call police, delaying the search for Muhammad and the boys.
Authorities said he had made an unsuccessful attempt to take the couple's year-old son from another location earlier the same day.
Muhammad's confession was recorded on video and played to the court Tuesday. "I held them down," Muhammad said. "I didn't let them get up."
His attorney, Johnson, told jurors at the start of the trial Monday that he expected Muhammad to be convicted and was focusing on keeping his client off death row.