The Shafia Family Murders
Polygamous Afghan immigrant Mohammad Shafia, 58, his second wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42, and eldest son, Hamed, 21, were each convicted on four counts of first degree murder in the June 2009 killings of Shafia and Tooba's three teenage daughters, Zainab (top right), 19, Sahar (bottom right), 17, Geeti (bottom left), 13, and Mr. Shafia's first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad (top left). The victims were discovered in a car found submerged in the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ontario, near Toronto. Attorneys for the Shafias argued that the four victims had been out joyriding late at night. Investigators, however believed that they had instead been drowned and then placed in the car, which was submerged to look like an accident.
Police learned more after they obtained permission to tap the Shafia's phone as part of the investigation. The two eldest daughters had boyfriends, despite their father's disapproval, and all three disobeyed their father by behaving independently and wearing revealing clothes. Mohammad was apparently a troublesome first wife and lenient stepmother. The press had already revealed comments from Muhammad Shafia to police like, "nothing is more dear to me than my honor," but what seems to have affected the jury most was wiretap recordings played for the court, including Mohammed Shafia saying, "May the devil [defecate] on their graves. Is that what a daughter should be? Would [a daughter] be such a whore?" and "saying to Tooba, "You did well. Would that they come back to life a hundred times for you to do the same again." During the trial and investigation Canadian authorities were roundly criticized for having ignored the girls' complaints of their father's violent discipline. On January 29, 2012, after 15 hours of deliberation, a Canadian jury sentenced each one to life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least 25 years. After the verdict was reached, the presiding judge, Robert Maranger, told the court, "It's difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honorless crime."