Murder of Iranian American podcaster highlights lack of protection for victims of stalking
The case of an Iranian American podcaster and her husband who were murdered in their home by a man who stalked them for months is showing the limits of police protection for victims, according to reports.
Zohreh Sadeghi, 33, and her husband Mohammed Milad Naseri, 35, both originally from Iran, were shot to death on Friday at their home in Redmond in Washington state by Ramin Khodakaramrezaei, a 38-year-old truck driver from Texas who also took his own life.
This followed months of relentless stalking by Khodakaramrezaei of Sadeghi, who reportedly started out as a fan after listening to her Persian-language audio stream before meeting her in person at a conference.
He would bombard her with calls - sometimes a hundred times a day - send her flowers and jewellery, and when she didn't respond to his advances would call her husband to complain he was getting in the way.
For months, the couple appeared to be polite but firm with their responses to Khodakaramrezaei, repeatedly telling him that his behaviour was inappropriate. When that didn't work, they called the police multiple times. Sadeghi obtained a court order prohibiting him from contacting her, according to police.
"Redmond officers and detectives were familiar with the victim and residence because of the ongoing stalking investigation," police said, according to a report by The Daily Beast.
A no-contact order, however, did not give Sadeghi physical protection and was reportedly not served to Khodakaramrezaei before he killed the couple.
"I think the key piece here is that a protection order is simply a piece of paper that does not prevent a person from causing harm to another person," Redmond Police Chief Darrell Lowe told The Daily Beast.
Sadeghi was recovering from back surgery at the time of the murders.
She had expressed her apprehension about being stalked while she was unable to move around easily. Her mother, who was at the house helping take care of her daughter while she was recuperating at the time of the murders, fled to a neighbour's home when she heard shots fired and called the police.