Detective says UM student admitted killing aunt with dumbbell

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News
Nayir Masrur

Troy — The University of Michigan student charged in his aunt's murder admitted hitting her with a dumbbell, a Troy police detective testified Tuesday.

Nayir Masrur, 20, made the statement while being interviewed after his arrest in the Nov. 12 death of Rubab Huq, Det. Kristine Shuler said during Masrur's preliminary exam in Troy District Court. 

“'I literally killed my aunt with a 15-pound weight,’” Shuler testified that Masrur told her during the one-hour interview.

The detective also said Masrur told her he feared his aunt and his family members would hurt him.

“He said he felt threatened and thought she and his family might harm him,” Shuler testified. 

Masrur, who sat quietly at the defense table just a few feet away, never gave any explanation for his fears, she said. He has been treated and released from a University of Michigan hospital just 12 hours before the assault for unknown medical reasons, Shuler testified.

After more than two hours of testimony, Judge Kirstin Nielsen Hartig said she would give attorneys time to file final motions — which could include a possible insanity defense by Masrur — before hearing final arguments next month on whether he should be tried. She scheduled a hearing for March 19.

Rubab Ferdous Huq, left, and her son, Farhan Huq.

Huq, 55, a mother and doctor who specialized in family and emergency medicine, was slain at a home in the 6500 block of Shoreline after another relative had reported Masrur was missing and in an agitated state.

A search for Masrur prompted a lockdown for about an hour at four area schools until police spotted him jumping out a second floor window of his aunt’s house and found him hiding in a reedy marsh at a nearby golf course.

Troy Police Officer Benjamin Hancock testified when he ordered Masrur to the ground and took him into custody, Masrur “mumbled out something which I thought sounded like ‘I’m sorry.’”

Masrur told police he had not eaten in three days before the incident and told Shuler he felt “stressed out by school” and had locked himself in a basement bathroom. He said Huq, who lived next door, knocked on the door and came into the house calling his name.

Shuler said Masrur told her he opened the bathroom door, slipped past his aunt and grabbed a 15-pound dumbbell that was a few feet away. He returned and “used it as a weapon” to strike Huq multiple times in the head until he said he “knew she was deceased,” the detective said.

"When I asked him why he didn't just leave the house, he had no explanation," Shuler testified.

Shuler said when she asked Masrur how many times he struck Huq during the attack, Masrur replied “a lot.”

Huq was dead at the scene, covered with a blanket by Masrur, Shuler said. Huq’s head was crushed and an autopsy determined she died from multiple blunt force blows. The floor and a wall of the basement were spattered with her blood, which was also found on the dumbbell.

Because of the felony offense and possible life penalty upon conviction, a not-guilty plea has been entered on Masrur’s behalf.

While a forensic exam by state psychiatrists has already determined Masrur is mentally competent to assist in his defense, his attorney, Paul Stablein, is asking for an independent examination in the county jail to determine Masrur's criminal responsibility — specifically, if his client was legally insane at the time of the incident. Masrur is being held without bond.

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