Pakistani convicted murderer Rohail Sarwar, 28, will spend the rest of his life in prison, without possibility of parole, under a sentence handed down Thursday in Woodland, California, near Sacramento. Yolo County Judge Paul Richardson described the murder as one of the “most vicious criminal acts” he had seen, particular the stab wounds to the victim’s face, head and abdomen.
In late July, Sarwar was convicted of first-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of massage worker Junying Lu in the Cottonwood Massage last August 21. When previously refused sex in the establishment, Sarwar urinated on the table. This time the “pee guy,” as employees called him, inflicted 14 stab wounds to the victim’s head and torso, then left her body in the hall and fled.
Sarwar was 27 and been in the United States less than one year. His American victim Junying Lu was 51. On Thursday the victim’s husband called Sarwar a “bastard” and wished he would get the death penalty. The victim’s daughter’s testified of their mother’s kindness and dedication, and at one point three family members had to be restrained from going after the convicted murderer.
“What a monster he was,” victim’s daughter Amy testified, telling Sarwar “you think you are in your own country. This is the United States, where we have human rights.”
On that theme, the trial provided insight into the role of women in Islamic societies such as Pakistan. Before the murder, Sarwar had been having an affair with Tamsila N. also from Pakistan. Deputy district attorney Diane Ortiz asked the witness to tell the court about women in Pakistani culture, whether they were expected to “obey orders” from men.
“Yes,” Tamsila said. Obeying orders from men was the custom in Pakistan. Ortiz asked if women were expected to “submit sexually” to men. “Yes,” Tamsila told the court. As she explained it was customary in Pakistan for women to submit to men’s sexual demands. Ortiz asked the witness if her marriage had been based on romantic love or arranged by others.
Tamsila told the court the marriage had been “arranged” by family members. Prosecutor Ortiz also asked Tamsila about divorce in Pakistan. “Not very good,” the witness testified. “We have no rights, only men have rights.” Her husband, not named or present in court, was furious over the affair and family members told Tamsila, “they wished Rohail would have killed me.”
As Sarwar’s public defender Ron Johnson told the court, Tamsila’s husband “planned to have her killed in Pakistan.” She never made the trip, and was not present for the sentencing. Sarwar made no statement but Junying Lu’s youngest daughter Amy raised some significant points.
“Why were you allowed in the United States?” she asked the convicted murderer. Court officials would not discuss Sarwar’s immigration status and nothing emerged on Thursday. Sarwar speaks little English and worked as a landscaper, a job for which there is no pressing demand in California. So he was not likely here for what he could contribute to the United States, and may have been a beneficiary of chain migration.
The victim’s daughter Amy told the convicted murderer. “You should have been kicked out long ago,” and that too was a valid point. Sarwar’s previous offenses at the massage parlor, which amounted to sexual assault, could have made the case for deportation. Unfortunately for the victim and her family, under sanctuary California does not cooperate with federal immigration officials, even in cases of violent crimes such as murder.
In a savage crime, Rohail Sarwar deprived an innocent woman of her life and as her daughters said Thursday, she will never see the grandchild born after her murder. Whether a legal or illegal immigrant, the Pakistani man amounts to a total loss for America.
Rohail Sarwar contributed little or nothing to the United States, whose taxpayers picked up the tab for his legal defense. American taxpayers now take on the burden of supporting this vicious murderer for the rest of his life.
Rohail Sarwar did think he was still in Pakistan and believed he could do whatever he wanted with any woman in America, with full impunity. He thus proved that Pakistan’s Islamic culture, which consigns women to second-class status, is essentially incompatible with American culture.
Like Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek Muslim who in 2017 killed eight people in New York, Rohail Sarwar makes the case against chain migration. The United States needs to admit fewer people like Rohail Sarwar. Those who get in and commit violent crimes need to be “kicked out,” as Junying Lu’s daughter Amy said. As the Pakistani “pee guy” confirms, that can be a matter of life and death.
Meanwhile, it emerged open court that people have conspired to have Tamsila N. sent back to Pakistan to have the woman killed. That sounds like conspiracy to commit murder, and American authorities might want to pursue charges. As Amy also said Thursday, “in America we have human rights.”