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Witness: I Don't Want My Dad to Die


Monday, July 30th, 2012
Issue 31, Volume 16.
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RIVERSIDE - A 12-year-old Perris girl whose father strangled her mother and younger sister in a rage over the woman's extramarital affairs testified today that she still loves her dad and doesn't want him to be sentenced to death.

Tara Barbar told attorneys for her father, Michael Barbar, that she remains in regular contact with him through letters and is "happy" whenever she receives any type of communication from him.

The girl, then 10 years old, was present when the defendant committed the murders.

"How would you feel if your father were executed?" Riverside County Deputy Public Defender Aimee Vierra asked Tara during cross-examination.

"What does that mean?" the 12-year-old replied.

"He would die," Vierra said.

"I would feel horrible," the girl said.

"Would you want to see him if he goes to prison?" Vierra asked.

"Yes," she said.

"You would prefer him to live as long as he can?" Vierra asked.

"Yes," Tara replied.

The youngster, who now lives with relatives, said she keeps all of her father's correspondence in a shoebox and looks forward to the next time they might meet. A juvenile court judge has barred any face-to-face contact or phone calls between the two until she is at least 18.

Tara also testified that she longed for her mother, Maysam "Michelle" Barbar, and younger sister, Tamara.

Earlier this month, a seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated about three hours before finding Michael Barbar, 54, guilty in the Nov. 13, 2009, slayings.

Along with two counts of first-degree murder, Barbar was convicted of special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and taking the lives of multiple victims in one crime, making him eligible for the death penalty.

The same jury must now decide what punishment to recommend for the defendant, who remains in custody without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

The prosecution rested its case in Barbar's penalty trial today. The defense is expected to conclude its case by Wednesday.

Barbar testified earlier that he "flipped" and lost control of his emotions while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The defendant said he never intended to physically harm either victim, wanting instead to leave them destitute and flee the country, returning to his native Lebanon.

But according to Barbar, he flew into a blind rage when he confronted his wife of 12 years with proof that 6-year-old Tamara was not his biological daughter.

"She didn't even say sorry. Makes me feel really low, with nothing to live for," he testified.

He admitted fatally choking his wife while she was handcuffed, saying that they had engaged in sexual activity that evening and the "love cuffs" were her idea. He said when he heard Tamara crying in an adjacent bedroom, he went over to shut her up by choking her.

Michelle Barbar's body was discovered in the master bedroom of the family's two-story home. She was nude, face down on the floor, with a black power cord tied around her neck.

In a separate bedroom, investigators found Tamara face-down on the floor in a shirt and underwear. Blood spatter covered the room, with obvious signs the child had been strangled with a television cable, and her head bashed repeatedly into a bed post.

Tara was hiding in her room and heard the killings taking place. She was discovered the following day by sheriff's deputies, alone and unharmed.

Barbar testified that in the months before the killings, he learned that his wife had committed adultery with at least three different men, including a 2002 affair that resulted in Tamara's birth.

He was captured near the Mexican border the day after committing the murders.


Prosecution testimony expected today in penalty phase of family killings trial

RIVERSIDE - Prosecution testimony is slated to begin today in the penalty phase of the trial of a Perris man who strangled his wife and her 6- year-old daughter in a rage over the woman's infidelity.

On July 13, a seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated about three hours before finding Michael Barbar, 54, guilty in the Nov. 13, 2009, slayings of 43- year-old Maysam "Michelle" Barbar and her daughter, Tamara.

Along with two counts of first-degree murder, Barbar was convicted of special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and taking the lives of multiple victims in one crime, making him eligible for the death penalty.

The same jury will now decide what punishment to recommend for the defendant, who remains held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

Barbar testified earlier that he "flipped" at the time of the murders, losing control of his emotions while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The defendant said he never intended to physically harm either victim, wanting instead to leave them destitute and flee the country, possibly returning to his native Lebanon. But according to Barbar, he flew into a blind rage when he confronted his wife of 12 years with proof that Tamara was not his biological daughter.

"She didn't even say sorry. Makes me feel really low, with nothing to live for," he testified.

He admitted fatally choking his wife while she was handcuffed, explaining that the two of them had engaged in sexual activity that evening, and the "love cuffs" were her idea. He said when he heard Tamara crying in an adjacent bedroom, he went over to shut her up by choking her.

According to Riverside County sheriff's investigators, Michelle Barbar's body was discovered in the master bedroom of the family's two-story home at 2846 Banner Place. The victim was nude, face down on the floor, with a black power cord tied around her neck.

In a separate bedroom, investigators found Tamara face-down on the floor in a shirt and underwear. Blood spatter covered the room, with obvious signs the child had been strangled with a television cable, and her head bashed repeatedly into a bed post.

Barbar's then-10-year-old daughter was hiding in her bedroom during the killings and was discovered the following day by deputies unharmed.

Barbar testified that in the months before the killings, he learned that his wife had committed adultery with at least three different men, including a 2002 affair that resulted in Tamara's birth.


 

2 comments

Comment Profile ImageSo sad
Comment #1 | Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm
this is horrible :(
Comment Profile ImageMarine
Comment #2 | Saturday, Aug 4, 2012 at 12:14 am
"She didn't even say sorry."
Wonder if he's apologized to his daughter or anyone else for what he did?

"Makes me feel really low, with nothing to live for,"

So why didn't take his own life instead of murdering his wife and daughter? What a coward. I feel sorry for the 12 yr old. She now faces the possibility of losing her father. Nevertheless, this guy should die for his crimes if not for the murder of his unfaithful wife then at least for the 6 yr old who had no control of what her mother did.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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