A man charged with murder, attempted murder and a hate crime in an attack on a Palestinian-American woman and her young son is scheduled to appear in court Monday following his indictment by an Illinois grand jury.
Joseph Czuba, 71, is expected to plead guilty at an arraignment on eight counts in the indictment filed last week. He is accused of the fatal stabbing of Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, and the wounding of Hanaan Shahin on October 14. Authorities said the victims were targeted because of their Muslim faith.
Shahin told police that Czuba, her landlord in Plainfield, Will County, was upset about the war between Israel and Hamas and attacked them after she urged him to “pray for peace.”
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Shahin, 32, is recovering from multiple stab wounds. Hundreds of people attended his son’s funeral on October 16.
The murder charge in the indictment against Czuba describes the boy’s death as a result of “exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior.”
Defense attorney George Lenard has said he will not comment on the case outside of court. Czuba, who is in jail, is expected to appear in court in Joliet, 50 miles southwest of Chicago.
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Shahin asked the public to “pray for peace” and said his son was his best friend in a statement issued last week through the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The stabbings were part of growing hostility against Muslim and Jewish communities in the United States since Hamas attacked Israel.