Kurdish Pride Gang members, brothers found guilty

Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 2:47am

Metro Parks Officer James Spray and his wife Kim wept together on Wednesday moments after the guilty verdicts were read against two Kurdish Pride Gang members, one of whom nearly took the officer’s life in an incident at Edwin Warner Park two years ago.

KPG members Ako and Aso Nejad, who are brothers, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and Ako Nejad was also found guilty of attempted second-degree murder of Spray.

“I’m relieved,” Spray said. “Justice was served.”

During the trial it was revealed that a bullet fired by Ako Nejad came within inches of Spray’s head while in his car in the park on the night of Aug. 4, 2006.

Spray had randomly driven up on Bushra Salih, who was allegedly used by the KPG members as bait to lure a drug dealer to the park. The alleged drug dealer, Darion Coleman, had earlier robbed Aso Nejad and authorities say the KPG members were apparently seeking retribution.

While Salih sat in the car, four others were waiting along the trees nearby, armed with handguns and a hunting rifle, according to testimony. Not knowing about the lurking gunmen, Spray approached Salih’s car. Salih sped away and while Spray followed, eight shots rang out, at least two of which struck his patrol car.

Spray and his wife became emotional when considering what could have been that night if he made even one different choice.

“This whole week has been very rough,” Spray said. “Almost losing your life is hard. I’m very happy with the verdict.”

Spray gave credit to Assistant District Attorney Rob McGuire for garnering the guilty verdicts against the Nejad brothers.

“Cops spend their lifetime protecting other people,” Spray said. “Very rarely does somebody go to bat for you and fight for you. Rob fought for us and fought for us and made the justice system right.”

Family members of the Nejad brothers wept openly when the guilty verdicts were read. The state had been seeking the more serious charge of attempted first-degree murder against Ako Nejad, but the jury chose to find him guilty of the less-serious attempted second-degree murder.

For the conspiracy charge, Ako and Aso Nejad are each facing 15-25 years in prison. For the attempted second-degree murder charge, Ako Nejad is facing 8-12 years.

“I understand the jury’s verdict,” McGuire said. “It’s always difficult to prosecute gang-related crime. So given the fact that both of these now are going to the penitentiary, it’s satisfying. What they did is dangerous and it put people’s lives in danger and I think that’s where they should be.”

The Nejad brothers are not the only two KPG-attached individuals facing conspiracy charges for the incident. Charges have also filed against three other members and those cases will be decided in the coming weeks, McGuire said.

Central to the state’s case was the testimony of Salih, who said Ako Nejad admitted firing the shots that could have killed Spray. The Nejad brothers’ attorneys, Paul Walwyn and Dumaka Shabazz, attempted to cast Salih as a crook looking to get a deal from the state.

McGuire said conspiracy charges are still possible against Salih.

McGuire said the evidence against the Nejad brothers, like the weapons left at the scene, cell phone records placing them at the park and a fingerprint lifted off a bag to latex gloves, corroborated Salih’s testimony.

Sentencing for the Nejad brothers will come Sept. 2, Judge Cheryl Blackburn said.

Filed under: City News
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By: Jasper on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You're right. The smoking gun, cell phone records and fingerprints probably weren't enough to prove anything. They should have just polled the family and friends of those accused.

By: webmaster on 12/31/69 at 6:00

[comments truncated]Please keep your comments free of profanity.

By: vandy36 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Defending these criminal gang members is a joke. You must be family to do that. So you think that just randomly they found guns, their fingerprints, and phone records proving they were there. In the same park the same day all this happened? Yea just a little too much of a coincidence. Their fellow gang member is the one who turned on them and testified. Does that not prove enough to you? These pieces of TRASH have got what they deserve. What would be even better would be to deport their butts back to Iraq where this type of behavior is normal. And they would fit in. Now they get a free ride for 15-20 years. They definitly sound like upstanding citizens. Funny, when they aren't parenting, going to college or working, they are trying to murder people in set up drug deals. Yep top of the evolutionary chain.

By: unknownkilla on 12/31/69 at 6:00

These pieces of TRASH have got what they deservevandy36

By: SupportiveCitizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

From the bits and pieces that I have picked up from the court proceedings, I believe the only proof was one fingerprint. And that fingerprint didn't belong to the shooter. It would have been very interesting to have been able to attend all of the proceedings.

By: JonQ on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Supportive Citizen is correct - the only PHYSICAL EVIDENCE was a fingerprint, and it did not belong to the shooter. There was also photographic evidence. Testimony is also evidence (circumstantial or no). I can only say that if you were actually there...it was very, very clear what happened.vandy36 - the two men in question are as American as you are. Natural born citizens.

By: whitepower on 12/31/69 at 6:00

4 men were in question. Why are only the brothers found guilty. They only have one fingerprint two snitches that has not t0ld the whole truth. Anyone can text friends to meet at anyplace.stuiped government....

By: mommoreno on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I do not know how 4 are on trial for the same thing and only 2 are convicted. The last man went on trial today and went home with probation. I can't believe the brothers are the only ones convicted.I have prayed everyday for these boys to come home. I have knowen them for many years. In school straig "A" student, great in soccer. Good boys. They have awsome parents.