‘Someday u will find me dead’

Police say an East Boston man admits to orchestrating the murder of his wife, who warned of abuse in text messages

By Milton J. Valencia and Vivian Yee
Globe Staff And Globe Correspondent / August 20, 2011

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The three men emerged from the darkness on a New Jersey side street Tuesday night, he said, screaming “terrorists’’ at the young couple out for a stroll with their toddler. They killed his young wife with a bullet in the heart and shot him, too, once in the shoulder and once in the ankle.

But yesterday Kashif Parvaiz admitted to police that his story was a lie.

Police investigating the execution-style killing of Nazish Noorani, 27, in the small town of Boonton, N.J., 30 miles from Manhattan, said yesterday that he was carrying out a plot to kill his wife, with the help of a Billerica woman, in a crime eerily reminiscent of the infamous Charles Stuart murder case that rocked Boston more than two decades ago.

Parvaiz, who had been living in East Boston, was charged yesterday with the murder of his wife in a conspiracy with Antionette Stephen, 26, of Billerica.

“Within hours of this 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,’’ said Robert A. Bianchi, the prosecutor from Morris County, in a statement.

“That this matter was so well thought out, planned, plotted, and orchestrated is chilling to say the least,’’ he said.

The case has similarities to the case of Stuart, who shot his pregnant wife, Carol, to death after they left childbirth classes at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in October 1989 and shot himself as part of his cover story.

He blamed the shootings on a black gunman, setting off police searches in Boston’s black neighborhoods.

Stuart’s story fell apart, and as authorities began to close in on him, he jumped off the Tobin Bridge three months later, killing himself.

Parvaiz initially told authorities who found him lying on the street that he had been shot by a black man, a white man, and a third unknown man, who shouted slurs about terrorists.

Noorani is from Pakistan; Parvaiz’s origin was not clear yesterday.

But he later changed his story, describing his attackers as three black men, according to authorities in New Jersey.

He also told authorities he had scheduled a flight back to Boston that evening, though family members said he planned to drive.

Police said that once Parvaiz’s story unraveled, he confessed to Captain Jeffrey Paul of the Morris County, N.J., prosecutor’s office.

The charges affirmed the worst fears of Noorani’s family, about a husband they said beat his wife and engaged in extramarital affairs.

Family members and friends said they doubted Parvaiz’s story of a hate crime from the beginning, because the close-knit Pakistani community had never experienced tension with others in Boonton.

“We were suspecting it,’’ said Moheet Durrani, 62, a family friend, after attending Noorani’s funeral at the Masjid Islamic Center in Boonton. “We were talking to each other and we were like, ‘Who else?’ ’’

Among the charges Parvaiz faces are first-degree murder and conspiring to murder.

Stephen, who was arrested at her parents’ home Thursday, made an initial appearance in Lowell District Court and waived her extradition to New Jersey, where she will also face charges of murder and conspiracy to murder.

Their plan, police said, called for Stephen to fatally shoot Noorani and wound Parvaiz as they walked from her sister’s house, where they had left their 5-year-old son, toward her father’s home, a short distance away.

Little was known about the nature of Stephen’s and Parvaiz’s relationship yesterday. East Boston neighbors said they had seen her at Parvaiz’s apartment recently, and her name is listed on the mailbox.

“There’s obviously a relationship,’’ Bianchi said during a news conference yesterday. “I’m not saying it’s physical, that they’re girlfriend, boyfriend.’’

The Stephens’ family home in Billerica was cordoned off with orange barrels and police tape, and police officers stood outside yesterday afternoon.

Neighbors described the family as friendly, a mother and father with two daughters. The parents work in the medical field.

“I hope it’s not true, because I can’t even imagine she was involved in something like this,’’ said a neighbor, who would only identify herself as Debbie. “They’re the nicest people I know.’’

East Boston neighbors of Parvaiz said he moved into the fourth-floor apartment on Waldemar Avenue last summer and that he was friendly.

They called him Kash and said they were shocked at the idea he could have played a role in his wife’s death.

Parvaiz told at least one neighbor that he lived there alone and was in the process of divorcing his wife, but was redecorating the apartment so his two sons could stay there.

Neighbors said they saw him recently with Stephen, whom Parvaiz called his friend.

“I can’t believe it,’’ said Raul Santamaria, 55, who lives on the first floor. “He looked nice, was very friendly, had a good education.’’

Parvaiz, who ran a remodeling business, told them he was a civil engineer enrolled in a graduate program at Harvard University, though university officials said they have no record of him being there.

He had several brushes with violent cases in Boston over the past year.

In February, he was charged with beating a girlfriend - not Stephen or Noorani - and refusing to let her leave his apartment, according to police records.

The woman later contacted authorities and said she did not want to move forward with prosecution. Parvaiz was summoned to court, but the charge was dismissed when the victim did not appear.

In March, Parvaiz told authorities three men beat him up and robbed him of $300 outside his apartment while he was taking out the trash. One of the men brandished a gun, Parvaiz told police.

And Noorani had told family members that Parvaiz had assaulted her.

She recently sent a text message to her brother saying that he was hitting her and that the children were afraid of him, according to court documents.

“I’m so tired of this,’’ she wrote in the text message. “Someday u will find me dead but its cuz of Kashi . . . he wants to kill me.’’

Parvaiz told police when he confessed to the murder plot that he had problems with his marriage and that he was angry at his wife for speaking negatively about his family.

He also told Paul that he “should control his anger so that this did not happen again,’’ according to court records.

Parvaiz told Paul that he and an accomplice - who police determined to be Stephen by matching phone records - met in Brooklyn and that the two spoke of his turbulent marriage. That’s when they hatched the plan to kill his wife, Parvaiz told authorities, according to court records.

He told Paul that they conducted surveillance on the neighborhood around Noorani’s sister’s home, where the family had its Ramadan celebration Tuesday night.

Stephen and Parvaiz planned the shooting through text messages, according to court records.

“You hang in there. Freedom is just around [the] corner,’’ Stephen allegedly wrote on Friday.

On Tuesday, just after 2 p.m., she allegedly wrote: “Call me when u can. Delete all msgs from phone. I won’t message from here on.’’

Tim Stelloh and James Barron of The New York Times contributed to this report. Vivian Yee can be reached at Milton Valencia can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MiltonValencia.