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Jury deliberations begin Tuesday for TikTok star accused of murder

Ali Abulaban is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Ana Abulaban and Rayburn Barron.
Ali Abulaban
Posted at 9:21 AM, May 28, 2024

The prosecution and defense gave closing arguments Friday in the trial of a former TikTok star accused of killing his estranged wife and another man.

The jury has to decide whether Ali Abulaban planned to kill his wife, Ana Abulaban, and Rayburn Barron, or whether this was a crime of passion.

The prosecution drove home the argument that Abulaban deliberately killed the pair at an apartment on Oct. 21, 2021.

The deputy district attorney said Abulaban was motivated by jealousy.

Ali Abulaban is pictured in court.

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Throughout the trial, prosecutors explained that Abulaban bugged the apartment to catch his wife, who he was separated from, with another man.

Prosecutors described to the jury that Abulaban’s gun was already loaded and out when he arrived at the apartment after learning she was there with Barron.

“He carefully weighed his options. He thought about death days prior … weeks prior,” the prosecutor said. “He decided to kill before he entered that apartment and shot Ana and Ray to death.”

Meanwhile, the defense argued that this is a heat-of-passion crime, not malicious murder.

The defense attorney told jurors that Ana’s involvement with Barron provoked Abulaban. They claimed Abulaban acted under intense emotions of betrayal and anger.

If the jury agrees, it would reduce the charges to manslaughter.

The defense also talked about what they claim was a toxic relationship and that Ana Abulaban was dishonest about being with Barron.

“We know that Ali was emotionally, mentally, physically compromised,” the defense attorney said. “These homicides were simply not first-degree murder. There was no plan. There was no premeditation.”

This story was originally published by Nia Watson at Scripps News San Diego.