Man Accused of Shooting Daughter, Niece in Head Charged With Capital Murder

April 17, 2019 Updated: April 17, 2019

A Virginia man authorities said shot his 18-year-old daughter and his niece in the head has been indicted on capital murder charges.

Abdool Z. Zaman allegedly gunned down his daughter, Vanessa Zaman, and his niece, Leona Samlall, at a Henrico County apartment complex on Dec. 13, 2018.

A jury recently indicted Zaman on two capital murder charges and he was arraigned on the charges in court on April 16, reported WTVR. Sources told the outlet that Zaman got out of his car and confronted the girls outside the complex before shooting them in what appeared to be a fit of rage.

Zaman fleed to New York City after the shooting but was captured five days later.

Capital murder charges are brought for extraordinarily cruel murders or other serious offenses such as rape and willful killing of a pregnant woman, according to FindLaw. Virginia’s capital punishment laws carry the death penalty. If condemned, criminals can choose to die by either lethal injection or electrocution.


Vanessa Zaman spent much of her life without her biological father but after turning 18 in October 2018 she moved out of the house she shared with her mother, stepfather, and half-brother to live with her father in Florida.

“I could have given Vanessa the world,” her mother, Saveeta Barnes, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “But it was all pointless. Her dad was everything to her.”

When Vanessa Zaman moved in with her father, Samlall was already living there. Abdool Zaman and Samlall had a baby together, Barnes said. They were relatives because Samlall’s mother married Zaman’s brother.

After Vanessa Zaman moved into the house she became concerned about her cousin’s safety so the two girls left to stay with Samlall’s mother and stepfather in an apartment in Virginia, arriving there about one week before they were shot.

According to a GoFundMe fundraiser that Barnes launched, Abdool Zaman was abusing Samlall. “Vanessa tried to protect her and an innocent baby. Vanessa was protecting 2 other souls,” Barnes wrote.

Barnes told Newsday that “every day is torture” without her daughter.

“She told me, ‘Mom, I’m going to give you 18 years of my life. I want to give my dad the next 18,” Barnes said. “Apparently she gave him her entire life.”

She called her ex-husband an “evil person” and said that she hopes he gets executed.

“Hopefully he gets the death penalty,” she said. “It’s what he deserves.”


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