DALLAS –– On Aug. 22, 2011, five-year-old Naim Muhammad was excited for the first day of school. At about 8:30 a.m. that morning, he was walking with his mother and younger brother, Elijah, to Julia C. Frazier Elementary School in southeast Dallas when his father allegedly pulled up behind them and forced the three into a vehicle.
Four hours later, the boys were dead, drowned, police say, in a southern Dallas creek. When Dallas police caught up with Naim Rasool Muhammad, 34, they found the two boys dead in the trunk of the car he's accused of abducting them in.
But before Muhammad was in custody, the boys' uncle testified in court Tuesday that Muhammad attempted to break into his home via a bedroom window and screamed, 'Your nephews are dead!' as he was being shoved out.
Brandon Turner, uncle to slain boys Naim and Elijah, told the court that Muhammad was coming after his third son, one-year-old Jeremiah. Turner said he was able to keep the boy safe and push Muhammad away from the home.
Tuesday marked the second day of testimony in Muhammad's trial. He's been charged with two counts of capital murder and faces the death penalty if convicted. During opening statements on Monday, prosecutor Tammy Kemp told the jury that Muhammad ordered his children to "play like they were swimming" in the water while he "held their heads down in the filthy, stinky creek until they stopped breathing."
The prosecution on Tuesday showed jurors video footage of Muhammad's interview with Dallas police after being arrested. He sobbed from his seat in the courtroom as he watched the video.
He told investigators that he forced his wife and children into the car. During this initial abduction, the mother of the children escaped and flagged down a Dallas County constable. After he was arrested, Muhammad told investigators in the video that he was upset she jumped out.
In the footage shown to jurors, Muhammad says he told her, "you jump out of the car, you don't care about your kids."
"When she jumped out she showed me she didn't care," he said in the recording.
He told police that he led the boys to the creek. Elijah was asking for his mother. Muhammad admitted to telling them to sit by the water and then, as the prosecution noted on Monday, had them play like they were swimming. He then held their heads underwater until they drowned, he told investigators.
On Tuesday, grandmother Priscilla Sampson testified that she was at Jack Evans Police Headquarters when officers told her that the boys were dead.
She said she had to tell her daughter of the deaths.
"I didn't want to believe it," said Kametra Sampson, the mother of the murdered boys.
Kametra Sampson was the third witness the prosecution called on Tuesday. She described a distraught man, frustrated that she was dating another man. She testified that Muhammad told her he didn't want another man raising his sons.
According to the grandmother's earlier testimony, Muhammad attended a barbecue the weekend before the boys were killed. She said he was upset that the mother was with the children and a new boyfriend.
Kametra Sampson told the court that Muhammad's anger peaked in a fury on Aug. 22. She said he threatened to beat her with a rock if she and her sons didn't get in the car with him. She said he kept asking her to take him back. Kametra Sampson begged him to stop the car, but he responded, "How would you like it if I killed all of you?"
Sampson said she spotted a constable and jumped out of the car. She testified that she ran to the constable and said her ex was going to kill her and her sons.
She told the jury that she was bleeding, crying and scared. She said she didn't think the children would be safe in the car but considered that constable her only hope. Sampson said the constable refused to chase Muhammad's car because she didn't have lights and sirens. She testified that she called Dallas police, but no one acted like the abduction was urgent.
An Amber Alert was not issued.
"They had me sitting in a room for like, two or three hours, I didn't know what was going on, then they said, 'well, we need to step in here, your mom's here,' and when I walked in, everybody was just crying. I said, 'what's going on, someone please tell me something! And then she told me that they were dead," Kametra Sampson said.
During his opening statements on Monday, defense attorney Paul Johnson admitted that his client was guilty –– even though Muhammad has pled the opposite –– and asked the jury to keep an open mind in an attempt to avoid a death sentence.
Testimony will continue Wednesday in Criminal District Court No. 4 at the Frank Crowley Courts Building.