Loudoun Jury Hands Up 2 First-Degree Murder Convictions in Sterling Shooting Case

After about seven hours of deliberation, a 12-person Circuit Court jury Thursday afternoon found Hassan M. Gailani guilty of 11 felonies in the fatal 2018 shooting of two men in a Sterling hookah bar.

The jury returned a guilty verdict for two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and seven counts of maliciously shooting within an occupied building. The jury will return to court Friday morning for the sentencing hearing.

Hassan M. Gailani

Gailani, 36, faces 20 years to life in prison for each murder conviction, along with additional time behind bars for the nine remaining convictions.

In May 2018, Gailani fired seven shots from his Kel-Tec 9 handgun in Sterling’s Pharaoh Café, killing his friend Ahmed S. Osman, 35, and Murtada A. Marof, 40. According to testimony in the seven days of trial, Gailani was convinced he contracted HIV when he claimed to have been sexually assaulted in 2008. Gailani said he thought he transferred the virus to his friend seven years later, which led his friend to plot revenge against him, employing the help of Osman in the process. Gailani believed he was drugged and sexually assaulted twice in the months before the shooting. He testified he was scared for his life and sought to rough Osman up, but not kill him.

Gailani’s attorneys asked the Jury to find him not guilty by reason of insanity. To do so, the jury would have had to conclude that Gailani had a mental disease or defect and was unable to discern right from wrong at the time of the shooting.

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