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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Michael Barbar Murder Case

     On 2009, 51-year-old Michael Barbar, a native of Lebanon, lived with his wife Maysam and their two daughters, ages 10 and 6, in a two-story house in Perris, a Riverside County town of 70,000 in southern California. Michael had a 19-year-old daughter from a former marriage who didn't live with him and Maysam.

     In mid-August 2009, Michael learned that his 43-year-old wife, at the time attending cosmetology school, had not been faithful to him. According to information that had come to his attention, Maysam, over the past six months, had been with three other men. He also learned that the 6-year-old Tamara, the child he had helped raise from birth, had been conceived as a result of Maysam's affair with a man in 2000.

     Some time after receiving this disturbing information, Michael Barbar checked Tamara out of school early one day and took her to a McDonald's where he swabbed the inside of her mouth for a DNA sample. On November 6, 2009, the paternity test revealed that she was not his child.

     On the night of November 13, 2009, after handcuffing Maysom behind her back during sex, he wrapped an electrical cord around her neck and strangled her to death. He then placed her nude body face-down on the master bedroom floor and covered it with a blanket.

     In Tamara's bedroom, Barbar coiled a television cable around her neck as she slept. When the 6-year-old awoke and struggled, he bashed her head against a bedpost twenty times, crushing her skull. In a third bedroom, the 10-year-old sister heard Tamar's cries and the sounds of her violent death. After the murder, she heard her father carrying what sounded like trash bags out of the house. The next morning, Barbar's surviving daughter discovered her sister's body. The door to the master bedroom was locked. She called 911.

     Following the double murder, Michael Barbar drove to nearby Cabazon, California where, at the Morongo Casino, he played the slots. The next morning, he drove east to Deming, New Mexico, a border town 60 miles west of Las Cruces. His plan was to enter Mexico and from there fly to his homeland of Lebanon. On November 15, 2009, the police in Deming interrupted his escape by taking him into custody.

     In early June 2012, Barbar went on trial in a Riverside County Superior Court for the murders of Maysam and Tamara Barbar. Because he was being tried for a double, premeditated murder, the defendant, under California law, was eligible for the death penalty. Barbar's defense attorney, while he didn't deny that his client had committed the homicides, argued that the killings had not been premeditated. According to the defense version of the case, when Michael confronted Maysam with the paternity test results, she had mocked him with a smirk. So enraged by the victim's smirk, Barbar snapped and killed his wife and the 6-year-old who was not his daughter. As a result, this was a crime of involuntary manslaughter. (Sometimes defense attorneys are paid to embarrass themselves. This is one of those cases.)

     Prosecutor John Aki offered the jury of seven women and five men a wealth of evidence that showed the defendant's preparation and planning for the murders. He had acquired a set of fake identification, rented a car, researched flight schedules between Mexico and Lebanon, and had withdrawn $30,000 from his bank account. On July 13, 2012, after only three hours of deliberation, the jury found the 54-year-old defendant guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

     On July 30, the penalty phase of the trial before the same jury got underway. For Michael Barbar, the two possible outcomes involved life without parole, and state imposed death. On August 10, 2012, the jury recommended that Judge Edward Weber sentence Michael Barbar to death.

     Crime scene investigators, on the morning after the murders, had found, among Michael Barbar's possessions, a copy of Truman Capote's nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood. In that book, the two men who murdered a Kansas farm family in 1959 were hanged. Barbar would not end up dangling at the end of a rope. Because the authorities in California will not execute anyone, Mr. Barbar will avoid the death penalty altogether.


  1. I can`t belive they`ll just throw him in jail, this was the mothers fault. Having a kid and letting another guy belive he is the father for many years? Are you kidding me?`What kind of hellish demon does such a thing? What kind of man is able to just take that and do nothing? Reading your death wish for this man is just disturbing, have some bitch lie to you over and over first, have a kid thats not really yours and see how it feels. This guy had a family for many years just to find out it wasn`t his family. I`m surprised he didn`t snap even worse.

    1. Are you out of your mind?
      Let's put the question of the mother aside. What about that innocent six-year-old child? Are you immoral enough to suggest that she deserved a horrific death? You need to be locked up before you hurt someone.

    2. His child or not, that doesn't give him the right to take her life or the life of her mother. Should have taken her to court and exposed her as a cheating spouse. But what she did does not give him the excuse to murder them.

    3. I was one of the investigating detectives in Deming. He fully confessed his crimes to me, in detail and once found guilty, he was given the death penalty.

  2. What planet are you from? What child deserves to feel the wrath of the sins of the parents? Do this planet justice and refrain from having children.

  3. The woman got what she deserved, the innocent child didn't deserve to die, that should have been the mother's paramour

    Moral of the story: Don't cheat on your spouse

  4. Anonymous, you seem the perfect storm toward an abusive and dangerous partner for any woman. Death for an unfaithful wife? what would be your 'punishment' for an unfaithful husband? You remind me of a religious extremist that believes his cow is worth more than a wife.

  5. Mr. Barbar's life fell apart the day he learned the truth about his marriage and paternity. At times like this, we fall back to our true moral underpinning. His moral truth is that he is a honor-killing, pre-meditating murderer. The evidence showed he cold-bloodedly planned this. He may have even molled over the fact of being executed for his crime, as the killers "In Cold Blood" were. I think he even knew he was cold blooded and he thought about this when he was perusing Truman Capote's book. His wife showed who she was too. She was a lying, cheating, dysfunctional woman. He doesn't get to kill her though. Poor little Tamara. God rest her precious little soul. Yeah, glad the police got him before he left the country.