Murder or Honor Killing?

How long before this senseless Atlanta murder is recategorized as an Honor Killing?

The cold-case murder of Sparkle Reid Rai, daughter of popular Atlanta news reporter Donna Lowry Reid, has returned to the spotlight, reopening old wounds for her family, but asking new questions.

From WLBT, Jackson Mississippi:

Police say the mastermind of this murder is Chiman L. Rai. He was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky. Rai, who is of Indian descent, owned the Wee Land Grocery Store on Bailey Avenue. Rai’s son, Ricky, had been married to Sparkle, who is black, for only one month. Prosecutors say the Rai family was not pleased with the interracial marriage.

[…] In fact, police think the two moved to Atlanta to get away from the family.

From WSB Radio:

…22-year-old Sparkle Reid Rai was fatally stabbed and strangled in her Union City apartment in April, 2000. Her seven-month-old daughter was nearby. Reid Rai’s mother is Channel 11 reporter, Donna Lowry Reid.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard says the alleged motive was a contract killing for “cultural reasons:” the young woman’s Indian father-in-law didn’t want his son married to a non-Indian woman.

“A decision was made that Ms. Rai should not be a member of that family,” Howard says. “Efforts were made to dissuade her from continuing the relationship; efforts were made to get her to withdraw from the marriage. And when that did not work out, the decision was made to pay to have her killed.”

[…] “He is remarried and one of the interesting things that we found is that his new family knew nothing about his former family and the fact that he has a daughter.”



  1. November 27, 2006 at 12:02 am

    […] Murder or Honor Killing? « Obi’s Sister […]


  2. islamblog said,

    November 28, 2006 at 4:42 am

    Honor killing, by definition, is a murder whose motive is to defend or preserve somebody’s honor. In Arab societies, a woman is considered to reflect on her family’s honor. In 99% of the cases be the women’s family who would commit the murder. The removal of the “shame” (the errant woman) restores the family’s honor.

    In this case, it doesn’t seem to be an issue of honor at all, but rather that the father in law didn’t want his son married to somebody of another race/culture. If at all, it seems racially motivated, not “honor” motivated.


  3. Johanna said,

    May 6, 2007 at 3:57 am

    In Arab societies a female is considered PROPERTY – there is no “reflection on family honor” – stop with the word games, they don’t work any more.

    All of these murders are done by control-freaky MEN. There is no “honor” in any of them. Men are animals.


  4. Obi's Sister said,

    May 15, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Word games?


  5. Hedgenator said,

    December 19, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    I thought I saw on the TV NoNews that this douchebag’s was denied bail or parole or something just lately – along with 4-5 other guys involved in the “contract killing.”


  6. Fools Gold said,

    June 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Semantics can play a role in crime statistics.

    In many Islamic cultures if a daughter has had sex prior to marriage it is up to her father and brothers to “maintain the family honor”. This would be true even if the sex was forcible rape or was only widely rumored to have taken place. The viewpoint may seem strange, but none of the sons in that family would be permitted to marry until the dishonor had been avenged. Nor would business relationships be continued, etc. Even such actions as simply having a daughter who was ‘independent’ and tried to adopt American dress or hold a job outside the home would be viewed as a case of ‘bad blood’ that had to be extinguished for the honor of the males.

    We, in the West, can not understand such cultural traditions and often they are cloaked in religious terms when it is nothing more than power over a female. Some men from the Middle East will be in the West for decades of study or business but will still adhere to ‘their cultural traditions’ and consider these acts perfectly proper. Geographical mobility on the part of the males does not alter their values and often does not alter their behavior. A good many men in America and Canada still maintain a ‘forbidden area’ where wives and children are shut off from even viewing the outside world. If some accommodation is made in living arrangements, dress, contact with the outside world, it is solely a temporary measure and not a reflection of changed beliefs.

    I dare say one can go thru newspaper archives and find Jewish women who wanted to eliminate a non-jewish mate that a son or daughter had taken. I am sure many groups tend to adhere a bit too strongly to cultural values.

    Do things get so extreme that murder takes place even on US soil? Sure.
    Many people cling to old world traditions that extend far beyond dress and language.

    Honor? Dishonor? These are terms with geographic significance.
    Consider the Japanese woman who attempted suicide by wading into the ocean in California and taking her two infants with her. Perfectly “proper” according to Japanese thinking, not infanticide. Perfectly reasonable for a Japanese wife when asked if her husband was wealthy to respond at a Public Defender intake screening: I do not know.


  7. June 15, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    […] and Sadness, Memories…, Parenting, Passings, Peach State) Readers of this blog remember my post about Sparkle Reid Rai, the daughter of popular Atlanta news reporter Donna Lowry Reid, who was […]


  8. June 26, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    […] Murder or Honor Killing?; Finally, The Chiman Rai Trial […]


  9. David said,

    June 28, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Dishonor killing.

    What kind of honor is it that someone kills because they don’t want a black person to be in their family? That’s dishonor.

    These kind of racist East INdians need to get over that stupid, old, retarded “Aryan” and “Brahman” sickness. They are themselves black and brown people. They are obsessed with skin color.

    This isn’t about her being “non-indian” because you don’t hear about white people marrying into Indian families with all of this. White people are routinely looked at as a “step up” when marrying into an Indian family. This isn’t some so-called “honor” killing because the Indian SON married a non-indian WOMAN. So if you want to get all “technical” about honor killings, you need to get your story straight.
    Finally, Old Man Rai needs to get real, he’s in America, and he, with his straight hair lived in a region where every other person was black. It offended me that the defense brought in black customers to testify to his good nature. Well yes, racists like this will be nice when you buy stuff. But they become their true selves when you marry their daughter. That’s the testament of a person, is when the things you hold dear are handled. And there is no reason for his sense of honor to be impacted by his son marrying a black woman. But in his sick racist mind (and thanks to his culture’s racist religion and history) he couldn’t get “Africa” seperated from “dishonor”. Dalit, Shudra, Black, African…. it’s the same thing.


  10. David said,

    June 28, 2008 at 9:19 am

    OH but in the end the racist old man won: Ricky, his son, abandoned his own daughter and gave custody to her mom’s parents. After all, the daughter is still black (too) and ultimately, Ricky Rai basically lumped her daughter into his mind as just a part of a bad chapter in his life. Ricky Rai is a deadbeat dad as far as I am concerned. His own daughter. His wife murdered by his father and he opts out of raising his daughter. I wish Sparkle’s father would force that coward to pay child support, if for anything so that Ricky’s new family would know and never forget. For Ricky to abandon his daughter after all of this… that’s as much of a shame as anything.


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