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Muhammad Syed convicted of ambush-style shooting in New Mexico

Muhammad Syed seen in an undated drivers license photo
Muhammad Syed seen in an undated drivers license photo

An Afghan refugee has been convicted of murder in one of three fatal ambush-style shootings of Muslim men in the US state of New Mexico two years ago.

Muhammad Syed faces life in prison for killing 41-year-old Aftab Hussein on 26 July 2022. He still faces trial for the other two killings.

The three victims were each found gunned down in Albuquerque within the span of a few weeks.

The murders caused widespread fear within the city's Muslim community.

The trial heard that Syed was armed with an AK-47-type rifle when he shot Mr Hussein from behind some bushes.

Prosecutors said the victim's body was "destroyed" by 11 entrance wounds, reports the Albuquerque Journal.

The trial saw mobile phone data showing Syed was in the area when the shooting occurred.

A ballistics expert testified that casings and projectiles from the scene matched a weapon found under Syed's bed.

Defence attorneys argued there was no proof Syed had actually pulled the trigger. They said they would file an appeal after the other two trials.

Syed did not testify and the defence called no witnesses.

Prosecutors acknowledged at the end of the trial that Syed's motive remains unclear.

No evidence was presented that he had ever interacted with Aftab Hussein before the shooting.

Deputy District Attorney David Waymire said outside court on Monday: "As best we can tell, this could be a case of a serial killer where there's a motive known only to them and not something that we can really understand."

Syed is also accused of killing Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, in a drive-by shooting on 1 August 2022.

He will stand trial, too, for the murder of Naeem Hussain, 25, who was shot inside his vehicle on 5 August.

Mr Hussain had recently become a US citizen and had just attended a funeral for two of the other shooting victims before he himself was targeted.

Syed was arrested on 9 August, two days after police distributed a photo of his vehicle.