Woman convicted of murder in neighbor’s stabbing death

A 33-year-old Douglas County woman was convicted of murder Monday afternoon for stabbing her neighbor to death as he cooked dinner, the district attorney said.

Sahara Tabriz Fakhir was sentenced to life in prison for killing businessman Jerry Wheeler inside his home in June 2013, Interim DA Brian Fortner said. Fakhir was found guilty of murder, armed robbery and burglary.

“Sahara Fakhir brutally murdered a completely innocent man,” Fortner said in an emailed statement. “Jerry Wheeler was a hard working pillar of the Douglas County Community. He was at home doing nothing more than cooking his dinner when Ms. Fakhir attacked him and stabbed him to death.”

Wheeler, 66, was the owner of Lee Road Auto Service and a husband, father and grandfather. His son, a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, found Wheeler inside his home when he was unable to reach him by phone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Wheeler’s wife was out of town at the time of his death, and he was cooking dinner for himself when he was attacked, police previously said. Coroner Randy Daniel said turnip greens were still on the stove when investigators arrived at the home.

Fakhir was arrested less than a month later and charged with murder. At her first court appearance, Fakhir told the judge that Allah would be representing her, and that she would seek vengeance.

“Allah is my lawyer and and if you do not release me, Allah will have his vengeance on you like he did in 2009 when he sent the flood,” she told the judge. “It’s only going to be worse.”

Fakhir has been held without bond at the Douglas County jail since her arrest. Her trial began last week.

“The jury’s speedy verdict reflected the overwhelming amount of evidence against the defendant,” Fortner said. “It brought justice for Jerry Wheeler.”