– white, age 25
Sentenced to death in Ada County,
By: A jury
Date of crime: 10/5/2003
response: Abdullah drugged his wife, tied a plastic bag around her head
to suffocate her, and then set their house on fire. Four children, who
were sleeping in the house when Abdullah set the fire, escaped. The
prosecution presented evidence that included burns on Abdullah’s arms
and that Abdullah purchased gas cans identical to the ones used in the
fire the day before the fire. The defense contested guilt by claiming
Abdullah was out of town when the fire started, but in closing arguments
admitted he was in town at the time of the fire.
Prosecutor(s): Pat Owen, Shawna
Defense lawyer(s): Kim Toryanski, Mitch Toryanski
Abdullah charged in wife's slaying
Police say man set home ablaze to cover up crime
Patrick Orr, The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho
October 19th, 2002
Boise police arrested Azad Abdullah on Friday on charges of killing
his wife, Angie, saying he was in Boise in the early hours of Oct. 5 and
killed his wife before setting their home on fire.
Police Chief Don Pierce characterized Angie Abdullah's death as a
domestic homicide, saying the couple had a troubled marriage and that
Angie Abdullah was actively seeking a divorce from Azad, 25. Police
suspect Azad set their home on fire to cover up the crime when he was
supposed to be in Salt Lake City.
"Evidence collected and analyzed at the (home) placed Abdullah at
the residence with the ability, opportunity and motive to commit the
crime," Pierce said.
Three Abdullah children as well as a 10-year-old family friend, were
sleeping in the home at the time of the fire. But the children escaped
without injury, in part because of the heroics of a neighbor. The
charges against Azad Abdullah include first-degree murder.
Pierce said police suspect one child -the couple's 19-month-old son-
may have been removed from the house before the fire.
Azad Abdullah was booked on Friday into the Ada County Jail, where
he is being held without bond. He will be arraigned Monday.
Because Angle Abdullah was a prominent member of the Boise Muslim
community and because of recent vandalism at the Boise mosque, there had
been speculation in the local Islamic community that the murder might be
a hate crime.
But Pierce stressed Friday there was never any evidence of that and
said he hoped Friday's arrest of the victim's husband might quell such
"The citizens of Boise can rest assured that we are not confronting
a hate or fear atmosphere, but rather experiencing another tragic family
dispute that resuited in the death of Angie Abdullah," Pierce said.
Family members of Angie Abdullah said late Friday they were
distraught about Azad's arrest and were too emotional to comment. But
they did release a statement that said they did not believe her killing
was a hate crime.
"The family of Angie Abdullah would like the community to know that
from the beginning of this horrible ordeal, we did not think that was
the case," they wrote. "We wish to thank the Boise fire and police
department for the countless hours of work that have brought this
investigation to a close."
Members of Azad Abdullah's family are in Boise but were unavailable
for comment Friday.
Pierce laid out his department's case against Azad Abdullah in a
news conference Friday afternoon. He said a significant amount of
evidence had been compiled by the Boise, Salt Lake City and West Val
ley, Utah, police departments over the past two weeks and led to Azad
Abdullah's arrest Friday. While Pierce declined to offer many details
about the evidence, he did say:
> Video, eyewitness accounts and records of financial purchas es
indicate Abdullah was actually in Idaho and Boise around the time of the
house fire. Abdullah had said he was in Salt Lake City on a shop ping
trip. Pierce said Abdullah bought gas in Mountain Home and was seen
there driving his maroon 1990 Dodge Caravan about the time of the fire.
Pierce wouldn't say whether it was before or after the home was set on
> Azad Abdullah may have suffered burns on his body in connection
with the fire.
> Evidence showed Ab dullah bought gas cans and other undisclosed
items while in Salt Lake City before the fire. Gas cans were found at
the fire scene.
> A cause of death has not been established, Pierce said, but in
vestigators found a plastic bag un der Angle Abdullah's head in the
Detectives have taken hair, skin and a DNA sample from Azad Ab
dullah and are still awaiting the re sults of some forensic tests from
Angie Abdullah's autopsy, Pierce said.
Even though there were no out ward signs of a struggle, investigators
took the DNA sample to have something to compare if the forensic tests
reveal such evidence on Angie Abdullah's body, Pierce said.
Pierce said that the couple had been arguing about financial matters
and property that Angie Abdullah was actively pursuing a divorce before
The fire was set about 2 a.m. Oct, 5, destroying the Abdullahs' west
Boise home on Siesta Way.
While four children were in the home when it was set on fire, the
19-month-old boy was found later in the back yard wrapped in bedclothes.
Pierce declined to say how police suspect the boy ended up in the back
yard. The two older children escaped unharmed on their own, and the
infant was rescued by a neighbor.
Neighbors said 9-year-old Alyssa Abdullah, accompanied by the 10-year-old-girl,
alerted them to the fire. Neighbor Ed Kerschensteiner then kicked in a
door found the couple's 3-week-old infant and raced out of the burning
Angie Abdullah apparently was killed in a bedroom where her body was
found. Investigators said it was not her bedroom, but they would not say
which bedroom it was.
There were no signs of forced entry into the house or of a struggle.
Investigators determined that gas was used as an accelerant in the
garage, where the fire began and in other parts of the house destroyed
by the fire.
Police said Azad Abdullah initially told them he and his 5-year-old
son, Redear, were on a weekend trip to Salt Lake City when the fire
occured. Father and son returned to Boise late Oct. 5.
Both Azad and Angie Abdullah had children from previous marriages.
Family members understand that Abdullah's first wife died several years
An arrest warrant for Azad was issued Friday after probable cause
was found by Magistrate Judge Kevin Swain, Ada County Prosecutor Greg
Pierce devlined to say friday where the Abdullahs' children were
Jury finds Azad Abdullah guilty of
Monday, November 22, 2004
BOISE – An
Ada County jury has found
Azad Abdullah guilty of
attempted murder, arson and
felony child endangerment.
began deliberating the case
Thursday afternoon. It took
them about seven hours to
reach a verdict in the
nearly two-month long trial.
27, was accused of killing
his wife, Angie, on Oct. 5,
2002, then setting their
home on fire to cover up
evidence of the crime. Four
children, including the
couple’s two sons, managed
to escape unharmed.
did not show much emotion as
the Fourth District Judge
Cheri Copsey read the
verdict, staring down most
of the time during the
courtroom was full of family
members on both side of this
case, waiting to hear the
attorneys told NewsChannel 7
Abdullah is very, very
disappointed by the verdicts.
His family says they are
disappointed by the process.
been a lot of bias going on,
but we've been pretty upset
by the whole, the way the
judge conducted herself and
how bias she was compared,
what she did with his
attorneys and how she
favored the prosecution,"
said Zuheir Abdullah, Azad's
Prosecutors refused to
comment on their victory,
saying only they are now
focused on the sentencing
phase. They are asking
jurors to sentence Abdullah
to death for first-degree
The jury will
only decide the sentence for
murder. It will be up to the
judge to sentence Abdullah
on the other five charges.
the second case in the last
month where a jury will make
a life or death decision.
Under a new Idaho law
enacted earlier this year,
juries, not judges, must
issue a death sentence.
Virgil Hall is now on
Idaho’s death row after
being found guilty of
murdering flight attendant
Lynn Henneman. His was the
first capital murder case to
be tried under the new law.
the trial, Prosecutors
claimed Abdullah lied about
being in Salt Lake City for
a shopping trip, and had in
fact, returned to Boise
early in the morning of Oct.
5, 2002, and suffocated
Angie with a plastic bag,
then he tried to cover up
the crime by setting their
home on fire. Four kids who
were sleeping inside the
home got out unharmed.
told police investigators he
was not in Boise the night
his wife died. But his story
changed in court Thursday
when defense attorney Mitch
Toryanski admitted Abdullah
had lied about his
whereabouts on the night of
Angie’s death and that he
was in Boise Oct. 5th.
sentencing phase of the
trial got underway at 3:30
Prosecutors and defense
attorney will present
evidence and testimony that
focus on the aggravating
factors in this case.
then be up to the jury to
decide if Abdullah showed
utter disregard for human
life and should be put to
death, or serve a lesser
sentence in prison.