LA police: Sexuality not key factor in gay son's killing

Police believe the primary reason a Los Angeles man shot and killed his adult son was to cover up for the stabbing death of his wife the previous day, and not chiefly because the son was gay, as prosecutors had alleged.

LAPD homicide Detective John Doerbecker tells the Los Angeles Times ( Tuesday that his son's sexuality was a contributing factor for Shehada Issa, 69, in the killing, but not the main factor. Officers discovered the body of the wife, Rabihah Issa, while investigating the killing of the son, Amier Issa, on March 29.

"Dad killed mom and then killed his son to cover it up," Doerbecker said. Police officers found the son's body outside the family home in the city's North Hills area.

The father has been charged with killing his son in a hate crime because he was gay. He has not yet been charged in the killing of the wife.

When he was arrested, Shehada Issa he told investigators he shot his son in self-defense after finding his wife's body. He has not been arraigned and is being held without bail. It's not clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on his case.

Another homicide detective, Steve Castro, had told the Daily News of Los Angeles ( ) earlier that Amier Issa's "sexual orientation was not the key factor" in the killing.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney had said in a statement Friday that the murder was committed "because of the victim's sexual orientation and because of the defendant's perception of that status and the victims' association with a person and a group of that status."

On Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Emily Cole, the prosecutor in the case, said there is sufficient evidence for the hate crime, including previous threats made by the father against his son over his homosexuality. She said that it was not necessary that it be the lone factor, only that it be a factor.

"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 told the Times.