Trial begins for suspect accused of murdering Muslim men in Albuquerque

Trial begins for suspect accused of murdering Muslim men in Albuquerque 5 p.m.

Two years ago, our community waited in fear as investigators worked to track down the person behind what seemed to be targeted attacks on our local Muslim community.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Two years ago, the metro was on edge as investigators tried to find the person who was attacking members of our Muslim community.

Four men were killed over the course of several months. Police eventually charged Muhammad Syed with three of their deaths. 

On Tuesday, Syed was in court for the first day of his trial for the murder of Aftab Hussein. Syed is facing a first-degree murder charge for his alleged involvement in Hussein’s death. 

In the months to come, Syed will be back on trial two more times on murder charges of two other Muslim men back in 2022. 

Albuquerque police officers say they found Hussein shot to death outside his home in southeast Albuquerque. 

During opening statements on Tuesday, the prosecution called Hussein’s death an ambush. 

The state went over several key pieces of evidence in its argument, including a note found on Syed’s phone in the Notes app. 

According to the prosecution, the note was written about 12 minutes before the shooting and called the shooting a test of the AK-47 that was used. The gun was later found under Syed’s bed at home.

They say Syed waited behind a bush until Hussein got home. Then, fired several shots, eventually killing him. 

“Mr. Syed used this weapon right here, an AK-47, and he shot Aftab Hussein nine times. He fired at least nine shots,” said David Waymire, a deputy district attorney. “Aftab Hussein was hit multiple times, approximately ten times. You’ll hear from the medical investigator, roughly as high as his ear and neck his abdomen his chest area all the way to his legs. 

During the defense’s opening statements, Syed’s attorney said his client lives with several people at home. 

Even though his cell phone, car, and gun were shown to be at the crime scene during the time of the shooting, that does not prove Syed himself was there.

The defense says the state does not have evidence that Syed was the one who pulled the trigger. 

“You would certainly expect to see some DNA, some prints belonging to the person who fired the shots that killed Mr. Hussein,” said Thomas Clark, defense. ”Mr. Syed had nothing to do with this killing. Lots of other people had access to the rifle, lots of other people had access to the cell phone.”

This afternoon, several witnesses testified, including the two APD officers about responding to the scene.

The state also called a crime scene investigator who explained the evidence collected at the scene. For example, the spent casings and blood splatter. 

It seems like the state is slowly building up a profile of all the forensic evidence and how it ties back to Syed.