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After apparently undergoing a religious awakening, a Saudi Arabian student in Houston killed his Jewish friend by slashing his throat.
Mohammed Ali Alayed, 23, pleaded guilty to the Aug. 6 attack on Ariel Sellouk, also 23, who almost was decapitated with a knife, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Houston police said they could not find evidence the slaying was tied to race or religion.
However, they said no clear motive has been established, and Alayed went to a local mosque after the slaying.
Alayed, who faces up to 60 years in prison, befriended Sellouk a few years ago, according to Sellouk’s father.
Michel Sellouk is a Moroccan Jew who came to Houston in 1982.
He said his son had been attending Houston Community College but was working in his father’s business when he was killed, the Chronicle reported.
Alayed broke off contact with Ariel about two years ago after undergoing a “religious experience” and became a devout Muslim, Sellouk told the Houston paper.
Sellouk said Alayed called his son the day of the slaying and suggested they get together. They went to Alayed’s apartment about midnight after going to a bar for drinks.
Alayed’s roommate told police the two were not arguing before Sellouk was killed, according to the Houston daily.
The Saudi student was receiving about $60,000 a year from his family for studies, but prosecutors believe he had dropped out of school.
Alayed initially was held without bail after allegedly telling his roommate he would flee to Saudi Arabia. A judge in October set bail at $5 million, however.