MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) — An appellate court has upheld the conviction of a man accused of setting up the fatal shooting of his wife while they walked with one of their young sons.
In a ruling issued Monday, the New Jersey panel also upheld the life sentence imposed on Kashif Parvaiz. He was convicted of scheming with his Massachusetts girlfriend to kill his wife and make it look random.
The August 2011 shooting occurred while Parvaiz and 27-year-old Nazish Noorani walked with their 2-year-old son in a stroller in Boonton, New Jersey. Parvaiz screamed for help and initially told police that some men had attacked him and his wife after calling them "terrorists." However, he later told a Morris County Prosecutor's Office official that he had arranged for his wife to be shot and himself wounded.
Noorani died in the shooting and Parvaiz suffered a leg wound. The couple were from New York City but were in Boonton to celebrate Ramadan with family members.
Antionette Stephen, who was having an affair with Parvaiz, pleaded guilty to murder and testified against him. She admitted firing the fatal shots. Parvaiz' lawyers argued at the trial that Stephen acted alone.
Parvaiz, now 32, was convicted of murder as an accomplice, conspiracy to commit murder, child endangerment, hindering apprehension and three weapons charges. In his appeal, he claimed that various errors had occurred during the trial and also argued that his life sentence was "excessive" since his girlfriend was sentenced to only 30 years as a result of a plea bargain.
The appeals court rejected all of Parvaiz's arguments. The panel upheld trial court decisions that allowed the jury to hear evidence that Parvaiz sought out black magic and voodoo artists to put spells on his wife, and that he tried to enlist the help of Stephen's sister in buying poison he could feed to Noorani.
The trial judge also allowed jurors to hear statements Parvaiz made to the prosecutor's office official. Parvaiz had argued that his right to remain silent was violated, claiming he was recuperating in the hospital from his bullet wounds when he was interviewed and was susceptible to influence.
Noorani's brothers now have custody of Parvaiz' and Noorani's children.