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Father who confessed to killing his son is charged in wife's death

Father who confessed to killing his son is charged in wife's death
Next-door neighbor Maria Gomez holds her phone displaying a photo of Amir Issa, who police say was killed by his father. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A 69-year-old man was charged Thursday with fatally stabbing his wife at their North Hills home before shooting their son to death, prosecutors said.

Shehada Issa faces two counts of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, Deputy Dist. Atty. Emily Cole said.

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Issa is accused of killing his wife, Rabihah Shibi Issa, 68, with a knife on or between March 27 and 29, according to the charging document.

The complaint also includes a special allegation that Issa intentionally fired a shotgun, which killed his son, Amir Issa, 38, as well as a hate crime allegation. Amir Issa was gay, authorities said.

Authorities said officers arriving at the home late last month walked into a gruesome scene: The son's body lay outside the house, while the wife's body was found inside a bathroom.

Police said the condition of the wife's body indicated that she may have been dead "for a while" before her son was shot. LAPD Officer Mike Lopez said she was "stabbed numerous times."

Shehada Issa told police that he had shot his son but said it was in self-defense, according to detectives. He told police that he had heard noises inside the home and, suspecting a burglar, grabbed a shotgun only to find himself confronted by his son, who he said threatened him with a knife.

Turmoil appears to have reigned behind closed doors at the Issa home since Amir moved back in with his parents, which neighbors said occurred within the last two years.

LAPD Sgt. Greg Bruce said officers had been called to the home to help evict Amir, whose parents were attempting to sell the house against their son's wishes. The son had even vandalized the house, according to police.

A neighbor who lived across the street from the Issas for 15 years said Shehada Issa complained to him about what he described as his son's problems with drugs and mental illness.

"He was a good guy. The son was a bad guy," Joel Munoz said. "I'm so sorry for the old man."

Those problems were evident, among other places, on Amir Issa's Facebook page.

In his last post, 10 days before his death, he said he worried that his parents, brother and sister were "literally controlling me in my sleep" and that "they tell people to rape and molest me and make it seem like I enjoy that."

Shehada Issa's arraignment is scheduled for May 17 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court's San Fernando branch. He is being held without bail.

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If convicted, he faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

For more local and breaking news, follow me on Twitter: @sarahparvini

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