Houston father feels he has done his duty as son’s killer is convicted


Houston attorney James Moriarty was sitting in a crowded military courtroom in Jordan on Monday when he heard the guilty verdict announced against the man who last year killed his son along with two other U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers.

“I had tears in my eyes. It was a passing of an important moment,” Moriarty said later in a telephone interview with the Houston Chronicle.

“I had a feeling that I had done my duty to protect his name and protect his honor,” Moriarty said.

The guilty verdict and life sentence with hard labor handed down by a military court against the Jordanian soldier, M’aarek Abu Tayeh – sometimes referred to as Marik al-Tuwayha – ended a month-long trial in Amman – Jordan’s capital. Moriarty’s son and namesake, Staff Sgt. James “Jimmy” Moriarty, 27, was killed Nov. 4, 2016 when his convoy waited at the gate to the al-Jafar base in southern Jordan.

Also killed were Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, and Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30. They were assigned to the U.S. Army’s 5th Special Forces Group in Fort Campbell, Ky. and were in Jordan to train Syrian rebels as part of the U.S. led military coalition against the Islamic State.


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The life sentence means Abu Tayeh won’t be eligible for parole for at least 20 years. Some family members of the victims have said they believe capital punishment would have been an appropriate punishment.

“Perhaps they couldn’t have prosecuted him for a more serious form of murder,” Moriarty said. “But, I would have been perfectly happy to see him hung.”

Abu Tayeh pleaded not guilty when the trial began last month. As he was being led from the court room following the verdict, Abu Tayeh said, “I have all the respect for the king but I was doing my job,” according to the Associated Press.

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