Unfortunate Sons: The Convictions of Sebastian Burns & Atif Rafay

//Unfortunate Sons: The Convictions of Sebastian Burns & Atif Rafay

Unfortunate Sons: The Convictions of Sebastian Burns & Atif Rafay

Dr. Tariq Rafay, his wife Sultana and their 20-year old daughter Basma were viciously bludgeoned to death in their Bellevue, Washington home on the evening of July 12, 1994. Atif Rafay, the son of Sultana and Tariq, found them when he returned home around 2am. Atif and his friend Sebastian Burns, both 18-years old, had gone out for dinner, a movie and a late-night snack. They found the horrific scene just after 2am. Sebastian Burns called 911 at 2:01am for help. The two teenagers then ran into the street to wait for the police.
There were reports that the police had a difficult time locating the Rafay house, which was located in an upper middle-class neighborhood. A few minutes after the 911 call, a police cruiser passed the house, unable to find the correct address. The teenagers chased after it, pounding on a window to get it to stop. Upon entering the Rafay’s suburban Seattle home, police were shocked by the horrible, bloody crime scene. Sultana was dead from fatal blows to her head. Basma was critically injured and died later at a hospital, having suffered repeated blows to her head and body. Dr. Rafay’s body was on his bed with his head completely crushed. His bedroom was covered in blood, bone, teeth and tissue from the brutal killing.
Sebastian and Atif had solid alibis which police interpreted as efforts by the teens to avoid detection as the perpetrators of this horrible, violent act. They were cooperative as police put them up in a motel and questioned them over a three-day period, but police found their reactions to the event to be inappropriate and suspicious. In the days, weeks and months following the murders, the Bellevue police tried to put together a case, but discovered that the physical evidence pointed away from supporting that either Sebastian or Atif were involved.
Nine months after the murders, frustrated by the lack of evidence of the guilt of Sebastian or Atif, the Bellevue police enlisted the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an effort to obtain incriminating evidence against the two teenagers. The RCMP decided to initiate an undercover sting operation known in Canada as “Mr. Big,” in an effort to elicit a confession from one or both of them. Evidence from a Mr. Big operation is not admissible in the United States unless it is obtained outside the country. At this point, the teens were living in Canada.
Today, at the quiet end, we discuss the vicious murders of three innocent people and a possible case of the wrongful convictions of two young men. Their confessions, given under a method that is illegal in the United States and has since been declared illegal in Canada, are what convicted them and what keep them in prison today. In Unfortunate Sons: The Convictions of  Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay, we look at the Mr. Big method of obtaining confessions, the other suspects in these murders, and the trials and appeals in the case.

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By |2018-05-10T17:19:02-07:00January 30th, 2018|True Crime|6 Comments

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  1. Jake March 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    These guys are factually innocent. The police involved, the prosecutors involved, and the judges involved …are the ones who should be seriously admonished for doing ridiculously poor, tunnel-visioned work. Oh, that’s right, I forgot about prosecutorial immunity. The actual evidence, if taken without prejudice, definitively points to a very solid “not guilty”, but that would hurt too many careers and judicial system in general.

  2. nic April 16, 2018 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Did YOU pay ANY attention to the story??

    Look at his body language, among other things!!!

  3. Lauren June 2, 2018 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    This is unbelievable. They are both innocent and the police tunnel vision along with the ridiculous so called “confessions” led to their incarceration. This case needs to be reopened and the original tip by the FBI informant needs to be followed up on. My heart breaks for those boys and their families. They were young and dumb and duped into “confessing” by Canadian law enforcement. That’s the entire case! I work in the judicial system and this is appalling.

  4. Gianna D Rutherford September 11, 2018 at 2:49 am - Reply

    Another reason we are by far NOT a free country…the sickening authority given to devients that are more corrupt than those they frame …

  5. Scarlett November 7, 2018 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Innocent!! Our “justice” system is so messed up!!

  6. Christa Eisenmann January 1, 2019 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    I saw the netflix special, and I have some questions. 1 What documentation is there in regards to the FBI officer who approached Seattle police and gave testimony about the guy with the bat in his car and the names of the people he believed were involved?

    Did anyone ever follow up on those names and attempt to do the police work needed to gather more evidence?

    Anyhow, the tapes shown on the TV were edited to show what was permissible in that time period. Has an independent review of all of the taped evidence been performed by an independent third party?

    Finally, I am appalled by this story and the outcome. Just what I have seen on the Netflix show is sufficient to convince me that more work needs to be done here, and swiftly.

    It is completely ridiculous the amounts of time that have passed with these two people sitting in jail, convicted by illegal testimony. If there is a petition to vacate the verdict and to retry these guys, I would sign it.

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