US & Canada

Kashif Parvaiz 'staged murder' of wife Nazish Noorani

Kashif Parvaiz and Antoinette Stephen
Image caption Authorities have not specified the relationship of Kashif Parvaiz (left) and Antionette Stephen (right)

The husband of a young mother who was shot dead as they walked with their three-year-old son along a street in the US state of New Jersey has been charged with her murder.

Kashif Parvaiz, 26, who was himself wounded in Tuesday's shooting, said he and Nazish Noorani had been attacked by men who called them terrorists.

But police say he and a woman, Antionette Stephen, plotted the murder.

Prosecutors have not detailed the suspects' relationship.

According to an arrest affidavit seen by the BBC, Ms Stephen is suspected of pulling the trigger during the attack, in which the child was unharmed.

'Inconsistent story'

She and Mr Parvaiz are in custody facing charges of murder, conspiracy and weapons offences. He is also accused of child-endangerment.

Prosecutors said Mr Parvaiz and Ms Noorani, 27, had been visiting relatives in Boonton, northern New Jersey, on Tuesday evening when shots rang out.

Ms Noorani died and Mr Parvaiz was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

According to the Morris County prosecutor, Mr Parvaiz told investigators they had been shot by a black male, a white male and a third unknown male, who shouted racist slurs.

But inconsistencies emerged in his story under questioning, authorities said.

He later said that they had been attacked by three black males, according to the arrest affadavit.

Under further questioning, Mr Parvaiz said he did not intend for this to happen, that he did not want to go to jail, and that he should control his anger so this did not happen again.

"Within hours of the crime, it was obvious to investigators that this was sadly the alleged handiwork of the victim's husband, who allegedly did the unthinkable and plotted to murder his wife after a religious celebration," Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi said in a statement.

Ms Noorani, a native of Karachi, Pakistan, and Mr Parvaiz, from Brooklyn, were reportedly wed in an arranged marriage six years ago.

According to the affidavit, Ms Noorani had recently sent to her brother a text message, which read: "Someday u will find me dead but its cuz of kashi… He wants to kill me.."

Mr Parvaiz had told family and neighbours that he was attending graduate school at Harvard, but the school has no record of him studying there.

Ms Stephen, a native of India, is an employee at a Best Buy store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to US media.