More than twenty years after the brutal and senseless murder of a Muslim cleric in Tucson, law enforcement officers and prosecutors reopened the unsolved case and began reexamining the evidence. Using modern DNA testing on physical evidence collected long before such testing was available, investigators identified Glen Francis as the likely perpetrator of the crime.
The victim was a religious leader and the imam of a Tucson mosque. Because some of his teachings were controversial, he had made enemies within the Muslim community and had previously received numerous death threats. His body was discovered in the kitchen of the mosque in 1990. He had been severely beaten, stabbed 29 times, and drenched in a flammable liquid. His killer had then turned on the four gas burners on the stove in an apparent effort to burn the body and destroy evidence of the crime.
Francis was eventually linked to the 20-year-old murder through fingerprints from the mosque and blood samples from the victimâ€™s coat. Detectives learned that Francis had come to Tucson from Trinidad for the express purpose of killing the victim because of his controversial religious views. Using the alias â€œBenjamin Phillips,â€ Francis had obtained an Arizona driverâ€™s license, rented an apartment, gotten a job, and even joined the victimâ€™s religious community to become familiar with imamâ€™s schedule and the layout of the mosque.
After the murder, using several different assumed names, Francis had left the country in 1991, returned several years later, then at some point moved to Canada, where he was found and arrested by Canadian officials in 2009. Extradited to Arizona in 2011, Francis was eventually tried for his vicious crime. A Tucson jury found him guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder. In January 2013, he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years.