Mohammad Shabeeh Raza was found guilty of online solicitation of a minor Monday afternoon following a morning trial before Eighth Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt. Northcutt remanded Raza into the custody of the Sheriff until the sentencing phase of the trial begins December 6 at 1:30 p.m. according to Assistant District Attorney Matt Harris. However, a short time later those plans are on hold as the court deals with an issue that could change the direction for this case.
Harris represented the state in the trial. Raza was arrested in December 15, 2015, after a close shave with an electric razor at a local convenience store. Law enforcement arrested Raza, then 25-years of age, who was living and working in Kansas City, Missouri but had family in Plano. Law enforcement had been in contact with Raza since April, 2015, when he thought he was communicating online with a female under 17.
Hopkins County Investigator Corley Weatherford testified regarding text messages between Raza and one Raza thought to be a female minor. Video of the arrest was also shown during the trial. In the video, Raza was Mirandized and his cellphone was removed from his pocket. Weatherford reviewed the contents of the cellphone at the scene and found tweets between Raza and the supposed female. Also introduced into evidence were eight pictures of items found in Raza’s vehicle including condoms, a camera, and the razor. Defense Attorney Frank Long raised the question that the items in the vehicle had been placed there by the sheriff’s deputy that drove the vehicle to the Sheriff’s office. Weatherford stated that even though there was only one officer in the vehicle, the vehicle was followed by a patrol vehicle. Deputy Johnny Clark testified that items in the vehicle were not moved inside the auto during transport.
The 5 ft. one inch male arrived at a local convenience store on a December Sunday following a holiday stop with friends in the Dallas area. Arriving early, Raza had just finished shaving in the store restroom when he exited the restroom and was taken into custody by Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County law enforcement. He was the held in Hopkins County Jail on a $75,000 bond. Bond for Raza was increased to $200,000 the next day after more information was made available to Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings and local law enforcement. When ordering the ankle monitor, J. P. Cummings discovered that Raza held dual citizenship in the U. S. and in India. It was also disclosed that he had ties in Pakistan and had traveled to London and Europe recently. The Justice of the Peace deemed Raza a flight risk and required him to relinquish his passport and to remain in Texas should he be released. Raza has a 15-year old sister and father who live in Plano.
Raza said, at the time of his arrest, that he is a systems engineer for a company in Kansas City and claimed Plano, Texas as his hometown.