A Tarrant County jury on Friday convicted an Arlington man of murder for strangling his wife in their apartment in 2019 just days after she arrived in Texas.
Hours later, jurors sentenced 39-year-old Tareq Alkayyali to 23 years for the murder of his wife, who had asked for a divorce a day after their wedding in 2018, prosecutors told the jury.
Alkayyali was found guilty of murder Friday morning in Criminal District Court No. 396 in Fort Worth.
The jury had the options of finding Alkayyali not guilty or guilty of murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide in the killing of 23-year-old Wasam Moussa of Amman, Jordan, in May 2019.
Assistant Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Allenna Bangs and Madeline Jones told the jury how Moussa was reluctant to marry Alkayyali in their home country of Jordan.
Even though he had taken her to the hospital during past medical emergencies, Alkayyali left for work after he said she fainted, and he placed her on the bed.
“He put his hand over her face, a person that he loved, and he watched as the light went out of her eyes,” Bangs told the jury. The statement was released Friday afternoon by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office in a news release. “What is a life worth?”
Moussa was killed less than a week after arriving in Texas from Jordan.
The two had married in Jordan in 2018, but the husband came to Texas because of his job, a family member told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2019.
Prosecutor said they didn’t go on a honeymoon, and Moussa returned to her family home the day after the wedding with her belongings.
During their months apart, he had an affair with a coworker, prosecutors said.
“She went to the United States to try to give her husband a chance to make a life for her family,” said Moussa’s brother, Ahmad Ali, in a 2019 email to the Star-Telegram.
During her short visit, the couple argued and talked about divorce. Moussa told her brother that, during one of their fights, Alkayyali covered her mouth with his hand.
The night before Wasam died, Alkayyali googled how to get his wife deported.
Moussa was found unconscious in the couple’s apartment and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
An autopsy indicated that Moussa died from asphyxiation, according to officials with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“She went there knowing that she had a lot of problems with him,” Ali said in the email.
“She (Moussa) was afraid of him,” he said.
Arlington police responded to a call for a welfare check at 6:42 a.m. on May 28, 2019, in the 2500 block of Park Village Drive.
A caller told a dispatcher that a man could be at the apartment and had assaulted a woman.
Arlington police found Alkayyali outside of the couple’s apartment and arrested him.