Condolences offered for NJ woman shot to death

AP News
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Posted: Aug 20, 2011 5:27 PM
Condolences offered for NJ woman shot to death

Condolences poured in for a New Jersey woman who was gunned down while she walked along a quiet street with her son and husband, who has admitted plotting the killing with another woman, authorities said.

Kashif Parvaiz was wounded in the shooting that killed his 27-year-old wife, Nazish Noorani. They were walking with their 3-year-old son in Boonton to a relative's house when shots rang out Tuesday night. The boy was unharmed. The couple's 5-year-old son was with family members in the house.

Parvaiz and 26-year-old Antionette Stephen of Billerica, Mass., both face charges of murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses. He also faces child-endangerment charges.

Parvaiz told police his family had been attacked by a group of men who called them terrorists, authorities said Friday, but Stephen and Parvaiz exchanged text messages in the days leading up to the shooting, according to an arrest affidavit released by the Morris County prosecutor's office. Texts from Stephen's number describe driving around the neighborhood to see how far away the nearest police station was.

"You hang in there. Freedom is just around ur corner," read one text sent from a phone listed to Stephen's father to Parvaiz, according to the affidavit.

Friends and family had set up a website, http://www.nazishmemorialfund.org, to help the couple's two children. Writers on its guestbook told of difficulty making sense of what happened and called her death "senseless and stupid." One hoped the children would one day be able to "move forward with beautiful memories."

The site said Noorani "lived for children" and put them before herself.

Parvaiz, who has been in the hospital, was being held on $1 million bail. Authorities said they did not know whether he had a lawyer.

Stephen was arrested Thursday in Massachusetts and arraigned Friday on a fugitive-from-justice charge. She was being held without bail at a women's prison there. It's not clear when she might be returned to New Jersey. The attorney who represented her at her arraignment did not return a call seeking comment.

Parvaiz's accounts of the attack were inconsistent and immediately raised suspicions, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi.

Parvaiz told investigators the couple was attacked by a combination of black and white males who shouted ethnic slurs, authorities said. In his initial story, the group shouted something about the family being "terrorists," authorities said.

But within hours, Bianchi said, "it was obvious to investigators that this was sadly the alleged handy work of the victim's husband who allegedly did the unthinkable and plotted to murder his wife."

Bianchi didn't say whether Stephen and Parvaiz were romantically involved nor who pulled the trigger or whether the same person shot both Parvaiz and Noorani.

Noorani was buried Friday after services at an Islamic center in Boonton, a small town about 25 miles west of New York with a solid Pakistani population.

Noorani was a native of Karachi, Pakistan, while Parvaiz was originally from Brooklyn, relatives have said.