A North Hills man pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he murdered his 68-year-old wife and his gay son at their home.
Shehada Issa is charged with two counts of murder stemming from the stabbing death of his wife, Rabihah, some time between March 27 and March 29, and the shotgun shooting death of his 38-year-old son, Amir, on March 29.
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against him.
Issa was charged April 1 with his son’s shooting death, along with a hate crime allegation that the murder was committed because of the victim’s sexual orientation. He was subsequently charged April 28 with his wife’s killing.
Los Angeles Police Department Detective John Doerbecker told the Los Angeles Times in April that Issa’s anger over his son’s sexuality was believed to be a contributing factor in the shooting, but not the underlying motivation for the killing.
Doerbecker told the newspaper then that detectives were working on the theory that “dad killed mom and then killed his son to cover it up.”
Police were called to the family’s house in the 15000 block of Rayen Street shortly after 9 a.m. March 29 and found Amir Issa dead outside the residence and his mother dead inside a bathroom in the home.
Issa remains jailed without bail. He is due back in a San Fernando courtroom July 14, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
— Wire reports