Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man Who Killed Family Over Paternity Test Sentenced to Death

Michael Barbar, police photo.

Michael Barbar, the California man who killed his wife, Maysam, and daughter Tamara when he found out the 6-year-old girl was fathered by someone else was formally sentenced to death Friday.

Judge Edward Webster took the bench in a small Perris courtroom and excoriated the defendant in front of an audience of Barbar family members. Webster sentenced Barbar to spend the rest of his life at San Quentin’s Death Row, citing “the pre-planned, grossly violent murder of a small child; the cruelty of having sex with (the wife) before you kill her, the fact that both victims were strangled, which I think is the most personal kind of killing.”

Barbar took his final opportunity to address the court to beg forgiveness from his family before turning irate at the judge and prosecutors. “I broke down and I lost my mind. Everybody knows, and the court knows, my crime was purely a crime of passion.” he exclaimed. “I was going for a murder-suicide, but when the police stopped me I did not have a gun with me at that time.”

Tamara Michele Barbar. Family photo.

In fact, when Barbar was arrested in New Mexico after killing his wife and daughter, a gun was found in his trunk, along with multiple passports and directions to the home of his wife’s paramour.

Barbar’s defense attorneys stressed the pain a death sentence would cause surviving daughter Tarah, 13, who still loves her father. Judge Webster agreed that Barbar had shown affection for his surviving family but cited “the dark side to this loyalty to family” as ample reason to mete out the ultimate punishment.



Man Kills Wife, Daughter After Paternity Test Proves He’s Not the Father

Death Penalty for Man Who Killed Wife, Daughter Over Paternity Test Results

See Also:

Child Actress Judith Barsi: A Life Cut Tragically Short


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