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Rabihah Shibli Issa, 68

Rabihah Shibli Issa, a 68-year-old woman of Middle Eastern descent, was found dead Tuesday, March 29, in the 15000 block of Rayen Street in North Hills, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Shortly before 9 a.m., Rabihah Issa’s son, Amier Issa, got into an altercation with his father, who allegedly pulled out a gun and shot him, police said. Issa was found in the front yard of the family home, while Rabihah Issa was found inside the home, fatally stabbed.

Prosecutors charged Shehada Issa, 69, with one count of murder in his son’s death. Police said he admitted to shooting his son with a shotgun, but explained that it was in self-defense.

Issa 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, Amier, who he said threatened him with a knife.

The district attorney’s office alleged in a statement that the elder Issa killed his son because of his “sexual orientation,” a move that brought national publicity to the case.

One week later, however, police said they suspect Issa fatally shot his son after killing his wife sometime during the previous 24 hours.

Prosecutors charged Shehada Issa with his wife’s killing April 28. Authorities believe the woman was killed between March 27 and 29.

Det. John Doerbecker said Issa's story conflicted with the crime scene evidence, saying there was no knife found near his son's body.

Meanwhile, he said, investigators have amassed evidence of animosity between Issa and his wife before her slaying. Issa's anger over his son's sexuality was a contributing factor, but not the underlying motivation for the killing, Doerbecker said.

"Generally, they didn't get along with each other," the detective said. "You might say they had problems through the years."

LAPD Det. Rich Wheeler said Issa viewed his son as a "freeloader" and wanted him to move out, but the son refused.

"He was clearly angry at his son," Wheeler said. "I think this is a case of anger and disappointment building over an extended period of time."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Emily Cole, who is handling Issa's prosecution, said her office decided there was sufficient evidence to support a hate crime allegation against Issa. She said authorities had information from Amier's siblings about previous threats their father made about Amier's sexuality.

"We have enough, obviously, to prove he killed the son, but the motive and the reasoning and everything is very much an ongoing investigation," she said.

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