Man sentenced to 13 years for ‘honor killing’ of his brother

EVERETT — Mehdi Matin lugged around his heartbreak for more than two decades before exacting revenge through violent blows.

Matin in 2009 beat his brother, Isa Mehri, with a metal pipe and then strangled him with a rope. He called his actions an “honor killing.”

Matin had called off his marriage to an Afghan woman more than 20 years ago after an offensive remark his brother made about his bride-to-be. His decision tortured him.

Matin, 63, was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for killing his 60-year-old brother. He pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree murder.

Matin likely will be deported to his native Afghanistan after serving out his prison sentence.

Snohomish County prosecutor Travis Johnson asked for the mid-range sentence. Matin pleaded guilty and took responsibility for his actions, Johnson said. He also has limited criminal history.

Defense attorney Gabriel Rothstein urged the judge to find mitigating circumstances to support a five-year term, a sentence well-below the standard range.

Rothstein tracked down the woman Matin was engaged to marry. They were in love, but the defendant’s family worked hard to drive the two apart, Rothstein said. Matin felt he couldn’t marry the woman after his brother made disparaging comments about her honor.

“He never recovered,” Rothstein said.

Matin in 2009 came to visit Mehri at his Lynnwood home about a week before the killing to talk about buying a gas station together. Mehri mentioned the woman and again made a disparaging remark.

That’s when Matin attacked his brother. He killed him, washed the body and called police two days later.

Mehri’s daughter on Tuesday explained that she was out of the country when she learned of her father’s death. They had been rebuilding their relationship after a falling out. She assumed she’d see her dad again at the holidays.

“I was robbed of the opportunity to tell my dad I love him and I’m sorry,” the woman said. “I will regret that for the rest of my life.”

Before handing down the sentence, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ronald Castleberry spoke to the woman. He encouraged her to bury her regrets.

“Trust me when I tell you every son and daughter has wished they had one more conversation with their beloved parent,” Castleberry said. “I suspect that he knows you love him. Do not feel guilty for things unsaid.”

Castleberry said over the years he has sentenced other men for killing their brothers. The common thread in these cases often is that the killers have perceived that they’ve been wronged. The hurt may be real, but there is no justification for the violence, Castleberry said.

“Quite frankly I think the defendant knows that,” Castleberry said.

The judge said he couldn’t find any grounds for a sentence below the standard range. Matin didn’t suddenly strike out. His actions were carried out over time.

“He realized he was wrong at the time and afterward,” the judge said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;

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