An ongoing domestic dispute fueled by Facebook threats from an accused killer led to an ambush by Nasser Hamad. This resulted in the shooting deaths of two victims and the wounding of three others:
— WKBN 27 First News (@WKBN) February 27, 2017
Now Hamad has attacked the victims in court, saying that they were a “terroristic group set firmly against Hamad because he was an Arab and a Muslim”:
The killings occurred on February 25 outside Hamad’s home in Warren, Ohio. He fired into the van occupied by the victims. There is no indication the victims had a weapon of any type:
— Lindsay McCoy (@LindsayWFMJ) March 1, 2017
Earlier this month, a Trumbull County judge set bail for Hamad at $5 million, despite Hamad’s claims he was being charged solely on the basis of his race. But his bond was later revoked at the request of prosecutors:
Nasser Hamad indicted, prosecutors seek to revoke his bond, a former DA weighs in on his self defense… https://t.co/yfALQ9WV8r
— Derek Steyer (@DerekWFMJ) March 2, 2017
During the bond hearing, he asked an assistant prosecutor if he was a “Zionist Jew”:
— Derek Steyer (@DerekWFMJ) March 9, 2017
An attorney associated with Hamad’s family appeared at the March 2 hearing. Afterwards, attorney Geoffrey Oglesby told the media that the charges were based on racism:
It seems like when minorities stand their ground they get charged, ok, and it appears to be, I hate to say it, based on his ethnicity in this particular case. And it is truly unfortunate.
In court this week, the admitted killer justified the shootings by invoking an “Islamophobia” defense and he even called on prosecutors to charge the victims with hate crimes:
The Youngstown Vindicator reports:
Hamad “acknowledged” that the fight had ended at the point where he went into the house and retrieved his gun, the filing says. He also acknowledged that the five were in the van when he walked the 70 feet from his front door to the van and fired nine to 10 shots at the five.
When the bullets ran out, Hamad went back into the house and got a second ammunition magazine. “Again, he did not call 911, lock himself securely in his home and wait for police,” the filing says.
When he arrived at the van a second time, he fired the fatal shot into the back of Josh Haber, 19, while Haber tried to get back into the van. He also fired at Shively and Hendrickson as they fled on foot, the filing says.
Joshua Williams, 20, later died at the hospital. April Trent Vokes, 42, suffered serious injuries, as did Hendrickson. Shively was grazed by a bullet.
Hamad’s attorney, Geoffrey Oglesby, filed a motion March 8 to Judge Ronald Rice asking that charges against Hamad be dropped because the prosecution had “not pursued … charges against the three White Americans and has charged the Arab-Muslim American, and they were all involved in the same altercation.”
The filing called the five “a terroristic group set firmly against Hamad because he was an Arab and a Muslim.”
The prosecutors have declined to charge the victims.
Among the evidence presented by prosecutors are several weeks of social media posts by Hamad taunting one of the wounded victims and baiting the victims to come to his home. He even provided his home address.
Motions filed in the case indicate that Hamad intends to invoke Ohio’s “Castle Doctrine” in his defense, but legal analysts addressing those claims say he’s unlikely to prevail.
— Matthew T. Mangino (@MatthewTMangino) March 2, 2017
Hamad has had a number of previous encounters with law enforcement. There are current protective orders against him, and he has threatened to kill his own brother:
— 21 WFMJ (@21WFMJ) March 1, 2017
Hamad’s family and supporters have placed a #FreeNasser sign in front of his home where the killings occurred:
A large sign of support sits outside Nasser Hamad’s home along Niles-Cortland Road in Howland. https://t.co/sbieGk7gau
— Lindsey Watson (@LindseyWatsonTV) March 1, 2017
Some of the victims’ families who have spoken publicly are asking for prosecutors to pursue the death penalty.