The attorney for a 34-year-old man accused of drowning two of his sons in a North Texas creek told jurors on Monday that he expects the father to be convicted, and he'll focus on keeping the man off death row.
Defense attorney Paul Johnson gave the blunt assessment to a Dallas County jury during his opening statements in the capital murder trial of Naim Rasool Muhammad, who is accused in the August 2011 drowning of two of his sons, 5-year-old Naim and 3-year-old Elijah. Prosecutors have said they would seek a death sentence if Muhammad is convicted.
Dallas County prosecutor Tammy Kemp detailed for the jury, step by step, the moments leading to the children's deaths south of Dallas.
She said Muhammad used a brick to force the boys and their mother into his vehicle as she walked the children to school; the older boy was starting kindergarten.
Their mother jumped out of the vehicle at an intersection and alerted a nearby constable, who called police but did not pursue the fleeing vehicle. Constables are mainly process servers in civil cases.
Muhammad's mother later called 911 to say her son had drowned the boys and she had their unresponsive bodies.
Court records show Muhammad has a history of violence and Child Protective Services officials had been tracking the family for months.
Muhammad confessed to the killings later that day, telling homicide detectives during a videotaped interview that he drowned the boys in a remote creek, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Authorities have said Muhammad also tried but failed to take his youngest child, a 1-year-old, from another location earlier in the day.
The children had been under watch by Texas Child Protective Services since early 2011, after the agency received a referral of family violence. CPS declined to say who made the referral but said the three children and their mother, Kametra Sampson, were living together in a shelter at the time.