PHOENIX, AZ (February 16, 2012) – After three days of deliberations, a Maricopa County Jury has found Haider Abdullah (D.O.B. 2/25/70) guilty of two counts of First Degree Murder for the 2009 shooting deaths of Ayad Mizel and Mohammad Mzeal. Abdullah faces a possible natural life prison sentence on each count.
“I commend the jury for holding this Defendant accountable for committing two senseless murders and causing a lifetime of grief for the families of these innocent victims,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “We will argue for an appropriately severe sentence to ensure that this criminal can never again endanger members of our community or enjoy the benefits of freedom,” he added.
On April 12, 2009, Mohammad Mzeal called Haider Abdullah’s sister, Alaa Mizel, and related that he saw her brother at a bar dancing and throwing dollars at strippers. Alaa then called her husband, Ayad Mizel, at work and left him a message stating that Mohammad saw her brother doing “bad things.” The next day, Alaa called her brother and confronted him about his behavior at the bar, pointing out that his actions were contrary to their Muslim culture. Abdullah got angry, and stated that he was going to kill Mohammad for telling her about the incident.
At approximately 3:00pm the same day, Abdullah called Alaa’s husband, Ayad, and left a message on his cell phone threatening to kill him as well. A short while later, Abdullah called Alaa and stated, “I just killed Mohammad and I’m going to come kill your husband.”
An hour later, police responded to a shots fired call and found Mohammad Mzeal shot to death in his car behind a Safeway store near 35th Avenue and Northern. Witnesses observed a male approach the victim and fire several shots before driving away. Between 5:30 and 6:00pm, Abdullah drove to Ayad Mizel’s house and was observed yelling for Ayad to come out of the house. Alaa asked her husband not to go outside, but Ayad told her he was going to confront Abdullah and exited the house. Seconds later, Alaa heard gunshots and ran down the street, where she found her husband face down covered in blood.
When apprehended two days later in Salinas, California, Abdullah admitted to police that he killed Ayad, claiming he acted in self-defense. Ayad’s son told investigators that he called Abdullah shortly after the shooting and that Abdullah indicated he killed Ayad to “teach him a lesson.” Ballistics testing confirmed a match between shell casings recovered from both crime scenes. No weapon was found with either victim.
Haider Abdullah is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30, 2012 before Judge Warren Granville.