This is truly a very sad story that has a ton of layers to it. A man named Shehada Issa, 70, was convicted on counts of first degree murder this past week for fatally shooting his son and stabbing his wife. The son in this case was gay, and they are ruling this as an anti-gay hate crime in the process.
Per LGBTQ Nation, Prosecutors argued that the Los-Angeles area man had a gambling problem and wanted to sell the house that he co-owned with his wife, Rabihah Issa, 68, to pay off debts. She refused to sign papers to sell the house, but he put it on the market anyway.
Recorded evidence showed Issa threatening to cut Rabihah in half and burn the house down.
At some point there was a confrontation between them and Issa stabbed Rabihah 45 times, locked up the house, and started planning the murder of his gay son Amir Issa, 29, which would occur two days later.
After Issa shot Amir, he told police that he acted in self-defense. He said that he came home late to find his wife stabbed to death in the bathroom and saw a person who he he thought was a burglar coming at him with a knife, so he shot the person with a shotgun in the face and stomach. The defense also presented evidence that Amir had a history of mental health issues and possibly drug abuse, and that he refused to leave the Issas’ home.
The prosecution showed that the shooting occurred during the day, at 9 am, countering Issa’s story. They also argued that Amir was shot from close enough for Issa to recognize who he was. Furthermore, investigators did not find a knife on the body.
The couple has one other son, named Victor, who openly talked about how his father hated Amir for being gay. “He detested him,” Victor said in court. “He was ashamed of him. He called him things like ‘whore of Babylon.’ It was constant for years. It was, ‘he deserves to die.'”
Victor also said that his father Issa was abusive to his mother and that he ruled the house with an "iron fist".
While the prosecution’s case presented money as the primary motive in the murder of Rabihah and escaping prosecution as the primary motive in killing Amir, hatred of his son for being gay was one of the motives, which means that hate crimes enhancements can be added under California law.
It took the jury six hours to come back with guilty verdicts. Prosecutors won't be seeking the dealth penalty in this case.