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New Mexico

Afghan refugee convicted of murder in New Mexico killing of Muslim man

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Afghan refugee convicted of murder in New Mexico killing of Muslim man


  • Muhammad Syed has been found guilty of first-degree murder for killing Aftab Hussein on July 26, 2022.
  • Syed, an Afghan refugee, was described as having a violent history and is facing accusations of two other killings.
  • Prosecutors presented cellphone data and ballistics evidence linking Syed to the crime.

An Afghan refugee was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in one of three fatal shootings that shook Albuquerque’s Muslim community during the summer of 2022.

Muhammad Syed faces life in prison for killing 41-year-old Aftab Hussein on July 26, 2022. He also will stand trial in the coming months in the other two slayings.

During the trial, prosecutors presented cellphone data that showed his phone was in the area when the shooting occurred, and a ballistics expert testified that casings and projectiles recovered from the scene had been fired from a rifle that was found hidden under Syed’s bed.

NEW MEXICO MURDER SUSPECT STANDS TRIAL IN KILLINGS OF 3 MUSLIM MEN

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Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors had no evidence that Syed was the one who pulled the trigger. They said others who lived in his home could also access his phone, the vehicle and the rifle.

Muhammed Syed is taken into custody on March 18, 2024, in Bernalillo County Courthouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Syed was found guilty on Monday of first-degree murder in one of three fatal shootings that shook Albuquerque’s Muslim community during the summer of 2022. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

The defense called no witnesses; Syed tearfully declined to testify in his own defense.

Prosecutors on Monday said they were pleased that jurors agreed it was a deliberate killing. However, they acknowledged that no testimony during the weeklong trial nor any court filings addressed a possible motive or detailed any interactions that Syed might have had with Hussein before the killing.

MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN NEW MEXICO SHOCKED AFTER SUSPECT IS ARRESTED

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“We were not able to uncover anything that we would indicate would be a motive that would explain this,” Deputy District Attorney David Waymire said outside the courthouse. “As best we can tell, this could be a case of a serial killer where there’s a motive known only to them and not something that we can really understand.”

Defense attorneys said the conviction would be appealed once the other two trials are complete. They too said a motive has yet to be uncovered.

The three ambush-style killings happened over the course of several days, leaving authorities scrambling to determine if race or religion might have been behind the crimes. It was not long before the investigation shifted away from possible hate crimes to what prosecutors described to jurors as the “willful and very deliberate” actions of another member of the Muslim community.

Syed, who speaks Pashto and required the help of translators throughout the trial, settled in the U.S. with his family several years before the killings. Prosecutors described him during previous court hearings as having a violent history. His public defenders argued that previous allegations of domestic violence never resulted in convictions.

Syed also is accused of killing Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, a 27-year-old urban planner who was gunned down Aug. 1, 2022, while taking his evening walk, and Naeem Hussain, who was shot four days later as he sat in his vehicle outside a refugee resettlement agency on the city’s south side.

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Muhammad Afzaal Hussain’s older brother, Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain, was there Monday to hear the verdict. He has been following the cases closely and like others in the community is troubled that there’s still no answer as to why his brother and the others were targeted.

A student leader at the University of New Mexico who was active in politics and later worked for the city of Española, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain had a bright future, his brother said. They had come to the United States from Pakistan for educational and economic opportunities.

He said the life they had planned was just starting to come to fruition when his brother was killed.

“It was a big loss,” he said.

Police also identified Syed as the suspect in the killing of another Muslim man in 2021, but no charges have been filed in that case.

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Authorities issued a public plea for help following the third killing in the summer of 2022. They shared photographs of a vehicle believed to be involved in the crimes, resulting in tips that led to Syed.

Syed denied involvement in the killings after being stopped more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Albuquerque. He told authorities he was on his way to Texas to find a new home for his family, saying he was concerned about the killings in Albuquerque.

NEW MEXICO POLICE CADET’S HUSBAND MURDERED HER BEFORE TAKING HIS OWN LIFE, OFFICIALS SAY

The judge prohibited prosecutors from directly introducing as evidence statements Syed made to a detective while being questioned. Defense attorneys argued that Syed’s rights were violated because the detective, through an interpreter, did not adequately inform Syed of his right to a court-appointed attorney.

During the trial, prosecutors gave jurors a rundown of what happened the night of the first killing: Hussein parked at his apartment complex at around 10 p.m. and had just stepped out of his vehicle with his keys still in his hand when gunfire erupted.

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“He stood no chance,” prosecutor Jordan Machin said during closing arguments. Machin said Syed had been lying in wait and that he continued to shoot even as Hussein lay on the ground.

Officers found Hussein with multiple wounds that stretched from his neck down to his feet. Investigators testified that some of the high-caliber rounds went through his body and pierced the car.

Prosecutors showed photos of Hussein’s bullet-riddled car and said the victim was killed nearly instantly.



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New Mexico

An off-the-grid community in New Mexico offers insight into sustainable building

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An off-the-grid community in New Mexico offers insight into sustainable building


ABC News is taking a look at solutions for issues related to climate change and the environment with the series, “The Power of Us: People, The Climate, and Our Future.”

Near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Taos, New Mexico, a community built into the earth is living totally off-the-grid in mostly-recycled structures called Earthships.

ABC News Chief Meteorologist and Chief Climate Correspondent Ginger Zee along with her team, Dan Manzo and Lindsey Griswold, traveled to Taos to stay with the community and find out what everyone can be doing to live a bit more sustainably.

“Everybody on the planet can wake up in the morning and be comfortable without fossil fuel. Everybody can grow food in their house, everybody can have electricity from the sun and wind,” Michael Reynolds, founder and creator of Earthship Biotecture, told Zee. “These buildings do that.”

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Heating, cooling and powering buildings creates more greenhouse gas emissions than anything else in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Furthermore, construction and demolition create more than 500 million tons of debris each year in this country alone, the EPA said.

The community of over 100 Earthships in Taos is made of “living vessels” with gravel, old tires, concrete and other discarded materials like glass bottles.

Earthships are fully self-sustaining structures with timers for wifi and hot water use, according to Earthship Biotecture.

Reynolds said he uses rainwater four times over for different purposes in his home.

Michael Reynolds talks with ABC News Chief Meteorologist and Chief Climate Correspondent Ginger Zee outside Taos, New Mexico.

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“I’m using five gallons — or three gallons of water to take a shower. That same three gallons of water waters my banana trees and my tomatoes,” Reynolds said. “That same three gallons of water is recollected to flush the toilet.”

Solar energy provides the homes with power, but it’s not used to heat or cool the structures. Earthships use trash as insulation to keep them comfortable inside.

Reynolds showed ABC News how Earthships are insulated with old tires filled with dirt.

“Each tire gets about four or five wheelbarrows of dirt pounded into them. So they’re basically like steel encased Adobe bricks,” Earthship Biotecture rental manager Hillary Hess told ABC News. “And the sun comes in and it hits that mass. And then the tire retains it. And as the temperature in here would drop, that heat would be released.”

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“You know, on a cold February night, you walk in one of these and you go, ‘This is amazing.’” Reynolds said. “This is warm and it’s freezing outside and there’s no heating system here. So if you’ve put people in a position to be able to experience it, then that’s huge.”

An ABC News team stayed in one of the structures in Taos for three days to understand how they work and what it feels like to live in one.

Hess said structure the team would be staying in is 5,400 square feet. Two thousand square feet of that is dedicated growing space.

PHOTO: Outside Taos, New Mexico, a community of Earthships offers off-the-grid living claiming to be the answer to building sustainability.

Outside Taos, New Mexico, a community of Earthships offers off-the-grid living claiming to be the answer to building sustainability.

ABC News

“In this house there’s two ponds in the greenhouse and we have tilapia out there,” she said. “So ideally, if you lived in this home, if you wanted, you could even be harvesting your own fish, chickens with eggs. And then you could catch a fish, pick your citrus, wrap it in a bag and leave and grill it out on the fire.”

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The small percentage of people living in Earthships aren’t the only ones saying traditional living and building arrangements need to change.

“The building industry currently is known to account for approximately 40% of greenhouse gas emissions,” Lola Ben-Alon, assistant professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation told ABC News. “It’s a really huge chunk of our industry in the world.”

Ben-Alon said there’s no one answer as to what makes up the most sustainable home.

“There’s no one solution,” she said. “It’s really a combination of principles and a combination of design thinking with the local environment and what is available and what is the climatic context, but also the material availability context and the labor context.”

Reynolds believes the principles of Earthships can be applied everywhere.

“Not everybody’s going to have an Earthship tomorrow,” Zee said. “If there had to be one thing from Earthships that we could apply to homes across America, what would be the most important?

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PHOTO: News Chief Meteorologist and Chief Climate Correspondent Ginger Zee sits with Earthship Biotecture founder and creator Michael Reynolds outside of an Earthship near Taos, New Mexico.

News Chief Meteorologist and Chief Climate Correspondent Ginger Zee sits with Earthship Biotecture founder and creator Michael Reynolds outside of an Earthship near Taos, New Mexico.

ABC News

“I think it starts with comfort,” Reynolds replied. “In other words, you can add a greenhouse on the south side of your house, and that will hit those rooms that are near that. You can even in New York City, you can get an apartment with south facing windows. You can become aware of the fact that heat comes from that thing, and you can catch that heat.”

In Santa Fe New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talked with ABC News about Earthships and other sustainability efforts in the state

“How important is it to experiment with sustainability like that?” Zee asked. “Because that’s extreme.”

“I think all of that has incredible value,” Grisham said. “It is not the No. 1 investment in sustainable living, but it is really powerful.”

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“Just their water reuse and recycling in its last place, after using it four times, is to grow food. I mean, these are particularly for states in the Southwest arid states,” she added. “That innovation and knowing that you can live completely off the grid and have sustainable building materials all recycled, we can do more of that.”

For his part, Reynolds said the extremity is necessary.

“I used to try to tone it down because I know that I’m a fanatic about it, and I can’t expect other people to understand what I’ve been thinking about for decades,” he said. “So I try to water it down and tone it down, but now it’s like, ‘yeah, it’s not appropriate to tone it down.’ I mean, the solutions are the way forward on this planet. It’s going to have to be extreme.”



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New Mexico

Nice and calm to start the week, windy by Thursday and Friday

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Nice and calm to start the week, windy by Thursday and Friday


KOB 4 Meteorologist Brandon Richards takes a look at the nice and calm weather conditions for New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Warmer temperatures returns to eastern New Mexico on Monday thanks to drier southwest flow. 

Some virga showers and dry storms are possible across the west central high terrain Monday afternoon. 

Tuesday will be the warmest day of the week, except for locations in northeast New Mexico behind a backdoor front. 

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Winds begin picking up Wednesday, peaking Thursday as a disturbance moves through the Four Corners region.

Watch the video above for more from Meteorologist Brandon Richards.

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Here’s where you can find some of the best noodles in New Mexico

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Here’s where you can find some of the best noodles in New Mexico





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