White Texas real estate owner avoids arrest after killing Moroccan driver


Courtesy of Faizan Syed

When Adil Dghoughi left his girlfriend’s house in Maxwell, Texas, just after 3 a.m. on October 11, she didn’t think about it. Sarah Todd told the Daily Beast that the 31-year-old Moroccan native enjoyed the nighttime walks during which he listened to music from his country and sang.

“It was kind of a relaxation for him,” Todd told The Daily Beast.

But according to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, at 3:42 a.m. Dghoughi was being transferred to a hospital after being shot by a white landlord named Terry Turner in Martindale, less than five miles from Maxwell. The sheriff’s office said the shooting happened after Turner confronted a “suspicious” car parked outside his home.

They also said Turner, 65, was “cooperative” and had not been arrested.

<div classe="inline-image__caption">
<p>Adil Dghoughi.</p>
<div class="inline-image__credit">Sarah todd</div>
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Adil Dghoughi.

Sarah todd

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It is still unclear if there was a significant confrontation or words spoken between Dghoughi and Turner prior to the shooting. It is also unclear whether Turner felt threatened by Dghoughi, as an incident report provided to the Daily Beast redacted any accounts related to the shooting. But relatives said the lack of an arrest in the case, despite the identification of a suspect by police, has raised questions in a country where whites have long shot at people of color and claimed responsibility. self-defense.

“We just want more information,” Brahim Mellouli, Dghoughi’s friend of over 15 years who knew him in Morocco and during his stay in the United States for the past decade, told the Daily Beast. . “We just want justice for him.”

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment for this story beyond providing the incident report. Turner, who has not been charged with any crime, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Dghoughi’s relatives told the Daily Beast they believed he got lost on his commute and may be trying to look for cell service in the small town of 1,000, which Todd said was known to have a terrible reception. They also said it would be unusual for Dghoughi to be confrontational with anyone who might have demanded to know why he was on their property – if he was and if such a request had ever been made.

“He would never look for trouble,” said Mellouli, the friend. “He was a calm, very respectful guy.”

Although Todd told the Daily Beast that investigators initially told him the case appeared to be a self-defense situation, a heavily drafted Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by the Daily Beast shows Turner is under investigation as a murder suspect. The sheriff’s office also said a search warrant was also executed in connection with the case.

Amid the ongoing investigation, Dghoughi’s relatives and community leaders say that in a state like Texas, where Stand Your Ground laws are strong and often cited, they fear Dghoughi’s death may be the subject of a thorough investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

According to the incident report, Turner called the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office to report the Dghoughi shooting on October 11. Todd told the Daily Beast that the car was his. Although she was not there at the time of the shooting, she said her inspection of the car and what she heard from investigators and hospital staff who tried to treat Dghoughi before his death shortly thereafter the shooting had led her to believe that Turner had “executed” her boyfriend. .

According to Todd, investigators told him after the shooting that Dghoughi was sitting in Turner’s driveway and that Turner feared Dghoughi was trying to rob him. “The first words, pretty much, that came out of their mouths were that it was self-defense,” she said.

A photo of the car Dghoughi was driving that was shared with The Daily Beast shows what appears to be two bullet holes through the window on the driver’s side of the car. Todd said she believed the car windows were proof that Dghoughi had his windows open before the shooting; she also thinks this is proof that Dghoughi did not try to hit Turner with his car, and that Turner shot Dghoughi at close range.

She said the doctors who treated Dghoughi told her that a bullet entered his hand, hit his head and exited through the passenger’s window, which she said suggests he may have be hands up. A request for Dghoughi’s autopsy report was not immediately returned by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, which describes itself as working with other jurisdictions, including Caldwell County.

Although Turner remains a murder suspect, Todd said, she is concerned about how Texas law Stand Your Ground, which allows the use of lethal force if someone feels it is “immediately necessary. »Preventing another person from using deadly force or from committing serious crimes such as kidnapping, murder, sexual assault or robbery may be relevant. In Texas, lethal force is also permitted to protect land and property if anyone feels it is necessary and will prevent arson, theft, or “overnight crime”.

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Todd said she believes the law as written is far too broad and could potentially protect a white owner like Turner. Some of the same issues are currently at play in the just started trial of three white men for the murder of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

“There should be guidelines that should be followed to be a responsible gun owner,” she said. “You call the police, you stay inside. If the person breaks into your home, yes, you can use force.

It is not clear from the incident report provided to the Daily Beast whether Dghoughi allegedly left his car before being shot.

Todd also cited research from the Urban Institute which shows that in states with Stand Your Ground laws, a shootout of a white person by a black person is found to be justified in 1% of cases, while a shootout in a black person by white person is deemed justified almost 17 percent of the time. She told the Daily Beast that she was concerned that Dghoughi’s case would tell whites “they can shoot whoever they want, just for stepping on their property.”

“It’s not OK,” she said.

Dghoughi arrived in the United States a decade ago and spent time in Florida and Rhode Island, where he earned an MBA in finance, before moving to Texas nearly three years ago, according to Todd. She added that before his death, Dghoughi drove Uber to pay bills while applying for jobs in the financial world.

<div classe="inline-image__caption">
<p>Adil Dghoughi.</p>
<div class="inline-image__credit">GoFundMe</div>
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Adil Dghoughi.


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Mellouli, Dghoughi’s longtime friend, said Dghoughi was in good spirits the last time they spoke and that he was excited about the interviews he had to come. “It’s tragic,” Mellouli told The Daily Beast.

After the shooting, Mellouli helped the Dghoughi family in Morocco set up a GoFundMe account, which raised over $ 27,000. Mellouli said part of the money would be used to send Dghoughi’s body back to his home country for a funeral. But he said the man’s family in Morocco also plan to use the money to hire a private investigator and a lawyer to get more answers about what happened.

Meanwhile, it’s not just relatives who are angry with the incident and the initial failure to make an arrest.

Faizan Syed, executive director of the Austin branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Daily Beast that Dghoughi’s family had also contacted his organization for help. Already, Syed said, they have called for an independent investigation.

He, too, was alarmed that Turner had remained free despite the shooting.

“We think this is totally unacceptable,” said Syed.

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