New details in case of dad accused of slaying kids

HOUSTON The gun the father is accused of using was returned to him by the legal system. It was the same gun that was around the children for years, and there's nothing the courts could have done about it.

Mohammad Goher was still at Ben Taub Hospital Wednesday night after surviving what investigators describe as a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. They say he used the same gun to kill his three children, ages 14, 12 and 7, and that gun was once the temporary property of the court.

"It's horrifying," said Steven Halpert.

Halpert has something heavy on his mind. He was the defense attorney for Goher who saw him through a successful deferred adjudication for assaulting his wife.

"This is every human being or every lawyer's nightmare for this to happen," Halpert said. "He was a model probationer."

Halpert also helped him get back the gun investigators say he used to murder his children.

"Had I had an inkling that there was something dangerous lurking or that he would do something improper with these weapons, then I would not have signed my name to that motion," Halpert said.

That motion led to an order on June 13, 2008, from Judge Jean Hughes to return two of Goher's guns taken from him after the 2006 assault on his wife. The two weapons were a 9mm and a rifle.

Harris County investigators confirm that the 9mm was the murder weapon Goher allegedly used early Sunday morning to kill his three children inside the back of his convenience store as they slept.

"There's no fault of the judge for giving back a gun that was used ultimately in a murder here because the judge had no more jurisdiction," KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy said.

Androphy says the judge was legally required to return Goher's property. Any opposition, he says, should have come from the state or family court.

Friends of Goher's wife have described a violent past that sent her fleeing to a local Islamic domestic abuse shelter. Halpert says he never saw it.

"He was just a working guy and a very nice guy," Halpert said.

But he still can't help but feel some guilt.

"If I could go back to June 12, of course; it's a nightmare," Halpert said.

Those close to Goher's ex-wife say he should have never had access to any guns and that the children were afraid of him.

Goher is charged with capital murder. The Harris County District Attorney's Office hasn't said whether it will pursue the death penalty.

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