Man Found Guilty in North Hills Murder of Wife, Adult Son

A North Hills man was convicted Thursday of first- degree murder for stabbing his wife and shooting his gay son, whom he claimed to have fired upon in self-defense last year.

The San Fernando jury found Shehada Issa, 70, guilty of killing his wife, Rabihah, some time between March 27, 2016, and March 29, 2016, and using a shotgun to kill his 38-year-old son, Amir, also known as "Rocky," on March 29, 2016.

The panel also found true the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, along with gun and knife use allegations.

Issa is due back in court for sentencing Oct. 26, when he is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors had opted not to seek the death penalty against him. Deputy District Attorney Leila Tahmassebi told jurors earlier this month that Issa thought he had committed the "perfect crime" by killing his wife and blaming it on his gay son, whom he claimed to have shot to death in self-defense.

Issa's attorney, Anthony Willoughby, countered that his client told the truth about what had happened.

In her opening statement, the prosecutor told jurors Issa had a longtime gambling problem that caused him to have a constant need for cash and that Issa's wife didn't want to put their North Hills home up for sale.

The woman had told her husband that she would not sign home sale papers, and he responded by threatening her life and listing the home anyway, the deputy district attorney said.

He also had failed to evict his son from the home, the prosecutor said, telling jurors that Issa had a "unique" hatred and "disgust" for his son because of his sexual orientation and because he refused to move out of adjoining rooms at the home.

"Evidence will show he made good on (his) threats" and "brutally murdered his wife and son," the prosecutor told jurors.

Issa's lawyer suggested that the man known as Rocky killed his mother and threatened his father with a knife, leading Issa to shoot his son in self-defense.

The defense attorney told jurors that Issa came home from a trip, found his wife had been stabbed to death, grabbed a rifle, went outside and shot and killed his son, whom he believed to be armed with a knife.

"This case has nothing to do with Rocky being gay," Willoughby insisted. The dead man had "mental issues -- and it's those issues that bring us here today," the defense attorney said.

The first prosecution witness was the defendant's second-eldest son, who told the jury that his father had a violent, abusive relationship with

Rabihah and an ever-increasing hatred for his gay son. Victor Issa told jurors about constant money problem and squabbles within the home as a result of his father's gambling. He also said that when the defendant found out that Rocky was gay, "their relationship changed."

"He detested (the fact that his son was gay)," the witness testified. "He detested him. He was ashamed of him. He called him things like 'whore of Babylon.' It was constant for years. It was, 'he deserves to die.'"

Issa was initially charged in the death of his son and then was charged just over three weeks later with killing his wife.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us